Ads mislead children, need more regulations

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Majority of the Indians believe that children are misled by advertisements for gaming, apps and other online services, according to a recent survey by the LocalCircles.

The survey reported that about 86 per cent of the people said that they have come across child inappropriate advertisements on various media platforms like television and video sites. The LocalCircles mentioned that 75 per cent of the Indians believe that children are being misled.

Apart from this, they found that about 87 per cent of the people who participated in the survey said that they could not read, view or even hear the disclaimers in advertisements.

The LocalCircles said that the survey was based on Ministry of Consumer Affairs’ draft guidelines on misleading advertisements. They got response from over 1,15,000 people spread across 320 districts in the country.

The ‘Central Consumer Protection Authority (Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Necessary Due Diligence for Endorsement of Advertisements) Guidelines, 2020 was brought in with the intention of preventing unfair trade practices and protecting consumers’ interest. In the draft guideline that was in public domain clearly mentioned that a disclaimer should be clearly visible to the consumer. Non-legible disclaimers will also be considered as misleading advertisements, the guideline said.

The survey found that misleading advertisements were much prominent in industries related to cosmetic products and services (30 per cent), real estate (22 per cent), food products and supplements (15 per cent), ecommerce sites/apps (14 per cent), health products and services (11 per cent) and banking and financial services (five per cent).

It noted that about 76 per cent of the people were against surrogate advertising for products such as alcohol. LocalCircles said that 77 per cent of the people surveyed wanted a ban on advertising for fantasy gaming platforms. They also said that 77 per cent of the people who participated in the survey wanted the government to prohibit advertisements for gaming platforms especially the ones where an individual can earn or lose money. However, 18 per cent were for allowing these gaming ads.

The survey also found that 73 per cent consumers talked of bait advertising where what was advertised was different than what was actually available. A majority of consumers, about 75 per cent, said that they were duped by misleading advertising that featured a celebrity.

With advertisements misleading the consumers, the survey found that 80 per cent of the consumers wanted the government to have some mechanism to regulate advertising.

 

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