Tips on child-related advertising
Tips on child-related advertising
Magazine editors and ad producers should consider what kind of advertising is age-appropriate
for young readers. If you see an ad that you believe is inappropriate for the time-slot, website or
magazine, make a complaint to the publisher.
It is important people in key media positions consider the effect that sexualised advertising has on
children. If you see a sexualised image of a child or young person in an advertising campaign, make
a formal complaint.
Visual representations of children in advertising campaigns should portray children in realistic
situations and poses, such as playing and laughing (not posing seductively). Make a formal
complaint if you believe a child model has been posed in a sexual manner.
If you don’t believe a product is appropriate or suitable for your child, don’t buy it for them.
Consider your child’s development and wellbeing by focussing more on them having fun, playing
and learning than making them self-conscious about their appearance.
Demand that companies use child models with realistic and varied body shapes to represent the
young population. This will help influence children and young people to maintain healthy body
If your child is displaying unhealthy eating behaviour or distorted views of their body shape and
size, let them know you are open to listening to them, without being judgmental. This may help
them to be more open to discussing their concerns. For further information, check out the “Eating
disorders and feeling healthy” link on the Reach Out! website at www.reachout.com.au.
If your child is a model, take into consideration what they will be promoting in advertising
campaigns, how they are posed, and what they are wearing. Ask a lot of questions before
committing to a contract and always register with a reliable agency that has the best interests of
your child at heart.
Offer to help your child cancel membership of a website or to unsubscribe them from marketing lists
if they are receiving direct marketing. Get web savvy so you know how!
Ensure that, when your child has cancelled membership from a website or a marketing database,
that the company permanently deletes their information. Get confirmation of this in writing, where
If your child finds an advertisement directed at them offensive, help them to write a letter of
complaint. Criticism is often accepted more readily if coming from the target audience itself.
How to make a complaint
To make a complaint about advertisements portraying children and young people in a negative or
indecent manner, contact the Advertising Standards Bureau.
Complaints about message content and/or advertising should be made to the Telephone Information
Services Standards Council.
If a child or young person receives harassing or nuisance emails from an advertiser, try to resolve the
problem with the internet service provider in the first instance. If this does not provide results, make a
complaint to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.
Complaints about internet spam from Australian businesses or individuals should be made to the
business responsible in the first instance. If there is no resolution, a complaint can be made to the
Australian Communications and Media Authority. Include the header information in the spam
email to help them track down the culprit.
For more information
The Advertising Federation of Australia www.afa.org.au
Advertising Standards Bureau
Australian Association of National Advertisers www.aana.com.au
Australian Communications and Media Authority
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Australian Direct Marketing Association
Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman
Telephone Information Services Standards Council