Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lying

Advertisers are notorious about stretching the truth or flat out lying. Take the lastest about sunscreen. The FDA has banned the misleading words of advertisers such as "waterproof" and "sweatproof" on the labels. Sunscreen isn't waterproof or sweatproof. In fact, if you turn the bottle over and read the fine print you'll see that manufacturers tell you to reapply after swimming. Why would a product tell you to reapply if it's "waterproof?" Simple. Because they are lying.

The same is true of foods marked "fat free." Fat free does not mean the product is entirely free of fat. The FDA guidelines say that a product must contain 0.5 grams or less per serving to be considered "fat free." That means something like a bag of chips that says serving size:2 contains 1 gram of fat. It's not "fat free."

Or even a bit misleading are some of the products marked "all natural" which is not a term regulated by the FDA. All natural can mean anything including products that have refined stuff in them. Refined flour while "natural" is not naturally occurring in nature.

The term "organic" is more regulated. But that doesn't mean the entire product is made up of organically grown products. A company can say an item is organic if it's made up of 95% organic ingredients. That still leaves 5%.

So if adults, who are intelligent human beings capable of fact finding, have trouble discerning whether a product is telling the truth about itself or not, how can we expect children to know the difference? Well, honestly, we can't. This has sort of touched a little debate over at the American Catholic, who was surprised to hear that Congress is upset at the FCC for not upholding a law. What law is this? It's one that limits the amount of commercial time advertisers have during children's television programs. Paul Zummo, the blog writer, thought the law was a bit extreme as did some of the other commenters. Most of the conversation segued to regulating sex and violence on television.

I made the same remarks that I have in the past about how I think children are already being inundated with product marketing not just on television but in the culture. There's enough peer pressure to buy fads these days that children are told by their peers that their less then. My child's not old enough to really care, but can you imagine a junior high student hearing this? So limiting the amount of commercials, that other children, are exposed to helps everyone's child. It's unreasonable for me to ask another parent to stop buying that sort of junk for their child, but I can at least ask the FCC to protect my child by limiting the amount of advertisements other children are exposed to.

But that isn't even the tip of the ice burg. Why are we allowing manufactures/advertisers to blatantly lie to us and our children? I know we have false advertisement laws, but those are really hard to enforce when advertisers can stretch the truth. I, for one, hope that we can enforce the laws that we have to put an end to all the lying. It's not teaching our children anything good.

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