Local News

Child Advocates Call for Advertising Awareness

Posted November 24, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— You've seen the ads on television and in magazines - young children in what some call sexually suggestive poses. A group of North Carolina doctors and child advocates say the ads are hurting our kids and they're doing something about it.

The Pediatric Society says children and young people used in the ads are at risk, and the message the ads convey putsallkids at risk.

Starting today, Dr. Denise Everette and other North Carolina pediatricians are behind a campaign against what they say is sexual exploitation of children in those ads. "After a while they become acceptable. Society becomes de-sensitized to what otherwise should be very concerning. And that's another reason why we really want to increase awareness of this problem."

Anyone who reads fashion magazines has seen the ads. Psychiatrist Dr. Linnea Smith says the "Let Kids be Kids Campaign" asks adults to use their consumer powers to fight what are seen as sexually exploitive ads. "That's a real plus in a democracy, to choose to use their consumer power and to support those corporations that are socially responsible and depict children in age-appropriate, non-sexual, healthy ways." Advertisers and advertising agencies are a powerful group. Dr. Robert Schrag, a media expert atN.C. State University, says this statewide campaign, and similar ones nationally, could make them rethink their use of children and young people. "Advertisers will do whatever they want to do to sell a product, what they think they have to do to sell a product, once a message causes more problems for them, than it garners profits, they will change the message."

The Pediatric Society says people concerned about the issue should support companies that use non-sexual advertising.