Disney’s Banning Junk Food
Recently, Disney announced its television networks and radio stations will be banning advertisements featuring junk food. The official move won’t take effect until 2015. However, it still concerns me because the ban could be a very bad idea.
What does Disney think this is going to achieve? It is not a health advocacy organization. It specializes in family entertainment. The only people the ban is going to please is the parents. For now, anyway.
The effects could be much worse in the long run. Not exposing kids to certain things that might be bad for them, it heightens their curiosity because it seems forbidden. Even if they don’t see junk food on TV, they are certainly going to see it elsewhere. Kids are going to find junk food more intriguing than if they saw commercials for it every day. Certain foods are simply more appealing. Not presenting those foods are only going to make them more coveted and attractive. It is also not going to prevent other parents from buying junk food. When the obesity levels don’t go down and kids are still eating junk food, who will the parents have to blame?
The problem is that parents want to avoid responsibility. Television is only a diversion and does not cause their problems. They do not determine anyone’s moral code, especially not commercials. Parents want to believe that the mostly insignificant breaks in the middle of a television schedule are what’s ruining their children’s health. It is simply not true. Bad parenting and not teaching moderation are what is ruining their children’s health.
There is also certainly money to be made in junk food. Currently, Disney branded sugary cereals and fruit snacks are sold in supermarkets everywhere. Kids are going to wonder why they are gone. Junk food is going to be eaten and craved anyway. No one can deny it. Why should parents lie to themselves? Why shouldn’t kids be exposed and taught self-control?
Disney does not care about kids getting healthier. It is a media company that targets kids. All it can really get out of this is good publicity and approval from parents, which will only last so long.
Disney’s job is to entertain and to appeal to the masses. Junk food ads help to do that and to bring in money. When this ban takes effect and kids are still overweight, nothing will be solved. The fact that commercials will be more insignificant and irrelevant than they already are will just be an added side-effect.