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Advertising Standards Authority Media

Children’s exposure to harmful ads continues to decline


By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

December 19, 2019 | 2 min read

The number of harmful TV adverts, such as for alcohol, gambling and products high in fat, salt or sugar (HFFS), has continued to decline according to new figures from the Advertising Standards Authority.


Exposure to junk food ads continues to fall

The report follows research it conducted over a four year period, which found children’s exposure to TV ads declined by 29.7%, falling from 229.3 ads per week in 2013 to 161.2 in 2017.

By 2017, only one of the ads a child saw each week for alcohol products while only 2.8 ads promoted gambling products and 9.6 were for HFSS products.

Figures for 2018 now show children’s exposure to those ads remaining at broadly the same levels, with their exposure to HFFS products falling to just eight per week while exposure to gambling ads fell to 3.2 per week.

The number of alcohol ads seen by children remained at a similar level to the past three years – 1.1 ad per week in 2018.

ASA chief executive, Guy Parker said: “Our priority is to ensure children are protected and we’re pleased that there’s a clear reduction in children’s exposure to TV ads for HFSS products and consistently low alcohol ad exposure levels.

“We’ve also policed the rules online through our proactive monitoring work, which uses technology to find out which ads children are seeing, followed by swift action against online advertisers who have broken the rules.”

Children’s exposure to all TV ads has also decreased from a peak of 229.3 ads per week in 2013 to a low of 141.9 ads in 2018. Compared to adults, children saw on average two ads for every five seen by adults during 2018.

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