Protecting the child consumer from misleading advertising: A comparison of media regulation and consumer protection approaches

Elizabeth Handsley, Arlen Duke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article compares two areas of legal regulation with a view to
determining the strengths and weaknesses of each as a means of protecting
children from misleading advertising. Media regulation, including
self-regulatory advertising industry codes, has rules designed to address
children’s special vulnerability to advertising, but its application is limited by
narrow definitions and concepts that are open to subjective interpretation.
Therefore, it places few restrictions, in practice, on the kinds of advertising
to which children are exposed. Section 18 of the Australian Consumer Law,
by contrast, is broad and comprehensive in its coverage, but does not
contain any special provision for children. The article examines the case law
on s 18 and determines that there is scope, should an appropriate case
arise, for the courts to adopt a test that takes into account children’s
cognitive development when determining what is misleading to a young
audience. Therefore, consumer law has the potential to serve as a more
effective protection for children’s rights and interests as media consumers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-262
Number of pages25
JournalCompetition and Consumer Law Journal
Volume26
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Protecting
  • Child Consumer
  • Advertising

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