Sunday, May 22

It is unfair and wrong for someone to make money this way

  • Maja Enerhaug Egge (19)

    2nd Deputy Head of Press – Save the Children Youth

The advertising and media industry must stop telling us that we young people are wrong as we are, the post author believes.

Enough.

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Every year we in Press – Save the Children Youth hand out the prize for this year’s Gullbarbie. It goes to the person or company that makes us young people feel the worst.

The enormous body pressure that the advertising and media industry creates is part of the reasons for poorer mental health in children and adolescents. We have been pointing this out for several years.

It is reprehensible that in 2022 an industry will continue to deliberately use young people’s insecurity to make money.

The pressure has worked

In recent years, some improvements have been seen. We mean the Gullbarbie campaigns has led to changes.

When we started the award in 2010, “body pressure” was not even recognized as a word. Now, on the other hand, it is discussed in everyday life, in the media and in the Storting. There has been a breakthrough to label retouched advertising, companies have changed practices, and body pressure and young people’s mental health have been put on the agenda.

But we are not at the finish line. That is why we are now releasing our campaign for the twelfth time.

Maja Enerhaug Egge is the 2nd Deputy Head of Press.

I wish it was not necessary. Unfortunately, we see a very negative development that has taken place in recent years.

But times are changing

Social media has made it far too easy to target advertising to children and young people.

The Gullbarbie nominees this year are OnlyFans, Protein.no and Brandy Mellville.

The Onlyfans website acts as an online store for nude pictures and sex videos. Protein.no uses, among other things articulated influencers for advertising on Instagram. The clothing brand Brandy Melville has repeatedly received criticism to sell “one size” that does not fit everyone, only small and thin.

Common to these is aggressive marketing to a young target group – and that it primarily takes place on social media.

It is unfair and wrong for someone to make money this way.

Children should have extra protection on social media, but to us it seems to be going in the opposite direction. The algorithms rather make it easier to target messages and advertising to those who are extra vulnerable to influence.

Money can not come first

Every day, young people are exposed to extremely many commercial messages. These impressions greatly affect how we view ourselves and others.

In the report Project perfect (2018) it emerged that 55 percent of children and young people want to change their own appearance. Children and young people also believe that regulating the media and advertising industry is one of the most important measures against body pressure.

The Marketing Act is not up to date enough to address the challenges that children and young people face today. It says that “children have a special protection against marketing that plays on social insecurity and low self-esteem”. But as it is today, it seems that companies’ ability to make quick money takes precedence over the mental health of children and young people.

That can not be the case.

Legislation is needed that better protects children and young people. And the laws that already exist must be enforced. Companies must take responsibility for their marketing. The advertising and media industry must stop telling us that we young people are wrong as we are. And politicians must take responsibility for the legislation so that it actually protects children online.


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