The Instigator
Pro (for)
6 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Congress ought to place a ban on food advertisments that target children under the age of twelve.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/12/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,119 times Debate No: 48983
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)




First round acceptance. 2nd round opening arguments with no rebuttals. Third and fourth are rebuttals and/or closing arguments.


I accept your challenge Madame.
Debate Round No. 1


To begin this debate, I put forth the following definitions:

Food advertisements: An advertisement of any medium (radio, television, printed ad, etc.) pertaining to or persuading the customer to buy a food product, usually in the form of fast food

A ban: An official or legal prohibition

I will conduct this argument under the value of utilitarianism- in other words, what does the most good for the most amount of people is the most morally justifiable.

In American society, obesity is becoming a bigger problem than we have ever seen before. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity has doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years alone. [1] The US has the highest obesity rate of any industrialized nation in the world. At the same time, we also have the most fast food stores and in essence, the most advertisements for buying food products. [2] McDonald’s, for example, had 40% of all of its ads aimed specifically at kids. [3] A survey done by the European Union (EU) found that 95% of food ads there encouraged kids to eat foods high in sugar, salt, and fat. [4] These are all problems we are facing now as a direct result of the advertisements targeted towards children. But why children?

According to Yale Daily News, preschoolers viewed an average of 2.8 fast food ads per day in 2012, while children ages 6 to 11 saw 3.2. [5] Research has shown that children younger than 8 years of age are “cognitively and psychologically defenseless against advertising.” Advertisements including toys and games on televisions are engineered to draw in kids, who are unknowingly falling into this ploy. In one study, the amount of TV viewed per week correlated to requests for specific foods with high caloric intake. [6] So what does all of these facts and figures mean? Well, they prove just how gullible to advertising kids truly are. Because until the brain is fully matured (which, admittedly, happens during different times for everyone), the so-called “logical reasoning” parts of the brain- in other words, the frontal cortex- is still fairly volatile and susceptible to influence from outside sources, whether it be conscious OR subconscious.

This means that food advertisements have large influence over the foods kids eat. Pretty obvious, right? But when we look back to the statistic I stated earlier- that 95% of all food ads in Europe encouraged kids to eat foods high in sugar, salt, and fat- we realize just how detrimental this issue is to our society. There’s a reason obesity levels are rising. And the best way to combat it, states Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, is to “ban advertising that preys upon children.” [7] While many may be unsatisfied with this so-called breach of the first amendment, banning food advertisements targeted towards children under the age of twelve would lower the obesity levels in America and subsequently, increase the lifespans and lower diabetes rates. Clearly this would be the most beneficial as well as support healthier lifestyles for American children, making this option the most morally justified.


[2] , Fast Food Nation


[4] Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser



[7] Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser



First I would like to state that I do reconize obesity as a problem in America, hoever placing a ban on all food advertisments that target children is not the way to solve this problem. My argument against such as ban is centered around three main reasons; 1. It is the job of the parents to decide what is appropiate food for their kids not the government. 2. The government would not do a good job deciding which advertisements are targeting children and this would cause the government to waste more of the taxpayers money. 3. There are non-governmental alternatives to decrease the amount of such advertisements.

It is the Parent's responsibility

One of the largest problems in America in regards to parenting is when parents put what is traddionally their responsibility on government programs and agencies. Examples of this include sexual education and other life lessons that are required to be taught at many elementary and middle schools. Because of such programs many parents think that they don't need to talk to their child children about those topics. The more we let governmet dictate what is appropiate for children and what is not the less responsibility each parent feels he or she has in such matters. If congress were to ban all food advertisements that target children than parents would assume that they would not have to worry about explaining to their kid why they shouldn't eat somtbing just because it looked good in the advertisement. This may not be the most important thing a parents have to teach their kids but if we enacted alot of laws that had side effects of parents not teaching their children all of the little lessons in life then the children will start having big problems as they get older.

Wide interpretation and a Waste of Money

A law such as this can be interpretated in many ways. How we would be able to define advertisements that target children is beyond me, for many ads target multiple age groups. If Mcdolnalds showed a commercial where a 14 year old was doing tricks at a skateboarding park then ronald hands him a bag of mcdonalds when hes done, is targeting teens, children or both. One could argue either way. To enforce this law the government would need to create a new agency or sub agency. This would just be more of the taxpaer's dollar being wasted on laws that are uneccessary.

There Are Better Alternatives

There are ways in which people can solve social problems without government intervention and it is almost always better. If there are enoguh people that feel strongly on a certain issue they can pressure society to change without the use of the government intervention. If enoiugh parents were upset about the number of fast food ads their children were watching on cartoon network, than they could cimply call up the network and ask them to stop showing too many fastfood ads or else they won't let their child watch cartoon network. If Cartoon Network got enough complaints than, out of fear of losing veiwers, they would decrease the number of fast food ads that they air. Private organizations that included many parents could put alot of preasure on companies and businesses that air these ads in the first place. These methods would be much more effective and cheaper than a government solution.
Debate Round No. 2


So why don't I begin this debate by first refuting my opponent's arguments before clarifying my own.

First, their argument concerning the parent's responsibility.

Now, in a perfect, idealistic society. I would agree. Really, I would. But the fact of the matter is that we don't live in a perfect society, and leaving this matter up to the parents is both foolish and naive. While I do agree that parents ought to have more responsibility for educating their children on such matters, like I mentioned before, it's not happening. Just the fact that our obesity rates are rising (as I mentioned in my previous argument) clearly proves that leaving it up to them isn't working. The logic that claims that banning ads targeted towards young kids would be making parents "assume that they would not have to worry about explaining to their kid why they shouldn't eat something..." is flimsy at best.

Moving on to the next point, the wide interpretation/waste of money.

Now, before making my point, I'd like to mention that yes, this statement is fairly broad, but it is also fairly hypothetical. To be honest, our congress really won't get around to passing a bill like this- it really could take decades. Obviously this is a hypothetical question, and to answer your situation of the fourteen year old- the debate is: Congress ought to place a ban on food advertisements that target children under the age of twelve. The fourteen year old, here, would be legally admissible. You also talk about a waste of money, but the money taxpayers are currently paying to obesity-related health problems (diabetes, etc.) is a hefty sum. It's been estimated that obesity accounts for roughly 21% ($190 billion) of our medical spending each year. And with the rise in obesity, this number will also rise. [1]

Finally, the better alternatives argument.

Yes, there are plenty of alternatives. And yes, some people are partaking in them. But when we examine the facts, it will become obvious that they aren't working. Obesity is rising, public outrage is not. Like I mentioned previously, it's naive to assume everything will magically fix itself. And remember- kids are our future, and at an early age they are especially susceptible to outside influence. It's our duty to nip this problem in the bud to ensure a happier, healthier future for everyone. Clearly we need a change, and this change comes in the form of banning food advertisements specifically targeted towards children aged 12 or younger.



BobTheLibertarian forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Because I have received no arguments/rebuttals from my opponent, I will give a recap of this debate and my arguments.

The value I used for this debate was utilitarianism- that is, what does the most good for the most amount of people is, in essence, the most morally justifiable. What this means is that whoever can prove that their arguments do the most good is the winner of this debate. While I agree my opponent had several good arguments, upon closer examination, they hold no water in arguing that food advertisements targeting children 12 and under should NOT be banned. Claiming that it was the parent's job, there are too wide of interpretations, it's a waste of money, and that there were "better alternatives" have each been proven wrong through my logical and factual evidence. When we take a look at this issue, the facts are clear: obesity rates are rising at the same time as fast food revenue, and in essence, advertising is. But where's the public outrage? Because the problem here is that there is none.

This means that it is time for Congress to step in to ensure a healthier nation for our children. A nation where children are not told at an early age to buy unhealthy foods. A nation where brainwashing people at a time when their minds are most susceptible to outside forces is illegal. A nation where we can grow up without greedy mega-corporations preying on our young minds. A nation based upon open minds from a young age. A nation of health.

And this health will come in the form of banning the brainwashing, preying, and otherwise taking advantage of our children that so often occurs in food corporations. Congress ought to place a ban on food advertisements that target children under the age of twelve.


BobTheLibertarian forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Zarroette 7 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
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Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro opens with a wonderfully strong argument, painting children as very susceptible to being misled. These arguments were backed by powerful sources, too. Con responds by saying that it should be the responsibility of parents, and that outright banning will be inefficient, in terms of the alternatives. Whilst Con's arguments were a good basis, Pro did respond, effectively arguing that parents aren't always that good and the money thing is somewhat hypothetical. However, Pro somewhat conceded Con's point that there are better alternatives, but this alone wasn't enough to swing it in Con's favour, especially considering that he forfeited. Conduct to Pro for Con's forfeit. Pro's sources were really strong, and infinitely better than Con's.

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