Close Loopholes on Online Junk Food Marketing

I have called for loopholes surrounding online marketing of junk food to youths to be closed.

We know that there is a direct link to junk food marketing directed at children and childhood obesity. It was for this reason we took action by regulating television and radio advertising.

However, there currently exist no such regulations for the online market. This allows junk food and high sugar beverage companies to target children as they see fit.

This kind of marketing is much more effective than the traditional television advertisements. Companies can use data to deliver personalised, targeted adverts to young internet users.

The amount of children accessing the internet continues to rise and while these loopholes remain open, they are exposed to this type of targeted marketing.

Parents have a right and expectation that their children should be allowed to access the internet without being targeted by companies promoting health damaging products.

We have recognised this problem through traditional forms of media; we must now bring our regulations up to date with our changing society by introducing similar restriction to online activity.

Ireland’s obesity epidemic does not start or stop at any age group, childhood obesity has been increasing at an alarming rate, posing lifelong problems.

By closing these loopholes, we can begin to modernize our marketing regulations and as part of a multifaceted approach, turn the tide on obesity.

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