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Advice for parents

Parent Port logo

Advertising and Children

We take our role of protecting children seriously. We have joined forces with other media regulators to create ParentPortParentPort is a website that’s designed to make it easier for parents to understand the standards that businesses and organisations have to follow across media, it also helps you to find the right regulator if you want to make a complaint or provide feedback on a particular issue.

This page is intended to help you understand the ASA’s role in protecting children. It contains a useful leaflet summarising our rules. It also provides guidance on how to make a complaint or provide feedback to us and contains links to other organisations who provide support for families or who campaign on children’s issues.

Advertising and children

We class a child as anyone under the age of 16.

All advertisers in the UK have a responsibility to follow the Advertising Codes which require that ads addressed to, targeted directly at, or featuring children do not contain anything that will cause them physical, mental, or moral harm.  

We make sure that this responsibility is fulfilled in ads across all UK media including:

  • TV
  • Radio
  • Websites
  • Newspapers 
  • Posters 
  • Magazines
  • Email 
  • Texts
  • Direct mail
  •  

    You can read case studies of past ASA rulings involving children and advertising by clicking on the links below:

    We want to hear from you 

    Our decisions are guided by the public’s views and we want to hear what you think about advertising as a parent.

    Got a complaint?
    If you have concerns about an ad which you think is potentially harmful, irresponsible, or inappropriate for children please lodge a complaint with us. Just one complaint can lead to an advertisement being amended or withdrawn.

    Have your say
    If you don’t have a specific concern about an ad but would like to express your opinion on advertising in general or have a question then we’d love to hear from you. You can send your comments by email: enquiries@asa.org.uk

    Further information 

    • UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (Children’s rules) (PDF)
    • UK Code of Broadcast Advertising  (Children’s rules) (PDF)
    • Advertising and Children - A parent's guide (PDF)  

    Useful links

    If the ASA cannot help but you want to ensure your voice is heard then it may be worth contacting a children or parenting organisation that can raise your concerns more widely on your behalf.

    Here are some organisations that represent the interests of parents and children:

    Parent Port
    ParentPort is run by the UK’s media regulators. We set and enforce standards across the media to protect children from inappropriate material.
    www.parentport.org.uk 

    Family and Parenting Institute 
    The Family and Parenting Institute is an independent charity that works with charities, businesses and public services to offer practical help to families.
    www.familyandparenting.org/

    Children’s Society
    The Children's Society works to ensure children and young people are respected, valued and heard. Through its campaigns and research, it seeks to influence policy and perceptions at all levels so young people have a better chance in life.
    www.childrenssociety.org.uk/

    Mother’s Union
    Mothers' Union is an international charity that seeks to support families worldwide.
    www.themothersunion.org/

    Netmums
    Netmums is an online parenting organisation comprising a family of local sites that cover the UK, each site offering information to mothers on everything from where to find playgroups and how to eat healthily to where to meet other mothers.
    www.netmums.com/

    Which?
    Which? campaign to protect consumer rights. As part of this it tests, rates and investigates baby products and services to keep baby safe and make life easier for parents. Whenever it uncovers safety issues with baby products, it pushes for positive change to improve the market for everyone.  www.which.co.uk/baby-and-child 

    Dealing with complaints - FAQs

    We work hard to ensure our complaints procedures are transparent. Here we answer some commonly asked questions about how we handle complaints.

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    Hot topics

    Find articles about some of the important issues that the ASA deals with on behalf of the public.

    Make a complaint

    Find out what types of ads we deal with and how to make a complaint.

    Parents page

    Dedicated to parents so that we can work with you, help you, and hear what you think about UK advertising.