Australian Council on Children and the Media

Fast food advertising issues

Children are bombarded with fast food advertising through every media outlet, and increasingly via online games and apps developed by fast food.

The ACCM advocates for a significant reduction in the marketing of junk food to children in all formats including television and print advertising, and in the use of celebrity and character endorsements and premium offers. It’s also concerned about the invasion of children’s privacy through the collection of personal data when participating in food-linked online games and websites: Australia lacks effective privacy provisions for children (cf the COPPA Act in the US).

Some greater protection for children could be achieved initially through a ban on television advertisements for junk foods and sugary drinks during the times that children watch in large numbers.

To date both the Labor and Coalition governments have been unwilling to act to reduce children’s exposure.

In 2012 the Australian National Preventive Health Agency ANPHA, developed draft frameworks for the monitoring of television marketing and advertising to children of unhealthy food and drinks and received public submissions on them.  It also established a national working group on food marketing to children. This working group agreed that there was a need for a consistent monitoring method and listed in its action report that the Agency should continue to develop a standard approach that will facilitate regular, independent monitoring of the exposure to children to the marketing of unhealthy food and drinks.

The ANPHA was disbanded by the Coalition Govt in 2014, and the fed. Govt has not acted on this issue since.

ACCM President Elizabeth Handsley takes a Children’s Rights approach to these issues and her work can be found here.

The Obesity Policy Coalition continues to lobby on these issues, as does Parents Voice.

Junkbusters is an Australian site sponsored by the NSW Cancer Council that allows parents to complain about inappropriate food advertising.