Parents' and children's perceptions of the ethics of marketing energy-dense nutrient-poor foods on the Internet: implications for policy to restrict children's exposure

Kaye Mehta, John Coveney, Paul Ward, Elizabeth Handsley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Children's exposure to the marketing of energy-dense nutrient-poor (EDNP) foods is a public health concern and marketing investment is known to be shifting to non-broadcast media, such as the Internet. This paper examines the perceptions of parents and children on ethical aspects of food marketing to which children are exposed. The research used qualitative methods with parent-child (aged between 8-13 years), from South Australia. Thirteen parent-child pairs participated in this research. Ethical concerns raised by parents and children included, the marketing of EDNP foods, pester power and family conflict and the use of powerful techniques via the Internet. Their views on rights and responsibilities represented a complex mixture of idealistic and pragmatic positions. They appeared to be caught within the tensions of problematizing unhealthy food marketing to children, both as a social problem and as an individual problem. Their dilemmas are not dissimilar to the broader policy debate in Australia on the matter of food marketing to children. The stale-mate on statutory regulations to protect children from exposure to EDNP food marketing could be advanced by stronger use of ethical arguments to protect children from harmful exploitation and to protect parents from forces that undermine their authority.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-34
Number of pages14
JournalPublic Health Ethics
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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