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Telecom Must Withdraw Phone Ad Exploiting Children
Green Party (New Zealand) Press Release
December 13, 2004

Telecom must withdraw cell phone ad exploiting children

Green MP Sue Kedgley is calling on Telecom to withdraw an ad for its cell phones which targets young children.

The ad features a primary school aged girl and has the tagline "I want to see Mum on my cell phone".

"It defies logic for Telecom public relations spokesperson John Goulter to claim on Morning Report this morning that the advertisement is not aimed at children," Ms Kedgley, Green Health spokesperson said.

"This ad features a four-year-old and is quite blatantly aimed at getting young children to pester their parents for cell phones. It is stretching credulity for Telecom to claim otherwise."

"The fact is that radiation from cell phones penetrates children's brains far more deeply than an adult's because their brains and skulls are still developing. This makes them far more vulnerable to cell phone radiation, and it is outrageous that Telecom would seek to make money by preying on our young."

Ms Kedgley will be writing today to Telecom directors today asking them to put pressure on their chief executive, Theresa Gattung, to pull the ads and support her call for an agreement among telecommunications operators not to target children.

"I am going to be asking them, and their husbands and wives, how they feel about their company targeting very young children. How would they feel about their children or grandchildren suffering health effects as a direct result of this campaign?"

Ms Kedgley said she was calling for an agreement not to target children in advertising campaigns to be included in the Code of Conduct for mobile operators that the Telecommunications Carriers' Forum is developing. The Code will deal with the misuse of mobile phone technology.

"I now expect Telecom to agree with this suggestion because it claims not to be targeting children. If that's true, then it should put its hand up and pledge to this agreement that it will never target children."

She also believes the Children's Commissioner should take an interest in the issue, and push for a ban on cell phone advertising to be included in the Code for Advertising to Children.

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