Beer, dating ads targeted at young girls on game website

The Bratz Doll website has copped criticism from health experts, who are outraged over advertisements for alcohol, energy drinks, junk food and dating services on the site targeted at young girls.

The website, which also offers Snow White and My Little Pony games, automatically plays 30 second ads prior to the games starting.

Everything from Crown Lager to Mars Bars are advertised on the website, Red Bull is even selling its products with a cartoon featuring a cartoon of Little Red Riding Hood.

Earlier this year health experts were calling for warning labels to be mandatory on energy drink packaging, with the rate of calls to health hotlines increasing as a result of the drinks.

Teenage males were to most common callers to the centres, reporting tremors, heart palpitations and inability to sleep after consuming energy drinks.

With the rates of obesity rising, and the associated conditions becoming more well known, there have been calls from health organisations, doctor groups and even political parties to have any advertising of junk food in children’s programs on TV and online stopped.

Cancer Council of WA policy officer Rebecca Johnson told The West Australian it is almost impossible to stop the advertisements because despite suggestions from health groups that companies should stop advertising junk to children, the regulations are not strong enough to do anything.

A complaint made to the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code complaints panel about a Crown Lager advertisement that appeared on the Bratz website has been dismissed, she said.

Foster’s said a "technical error" caused its beer to be advertised on the website.

There is also not any recourse for the Red Bull advertisements because the code does not cover online ads.

McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth director Mike Daube said the placement of the ads on a site accessed by girls as young as three was completely inappropriate.

"It shows the outrageous lack of control over websites, and the alcohol promotion is completely inexcusable," Daube said.

"We’re seeing beer advertising to toddlers which shows the voluntary system is a complete sham."

He has written to Federal Mental Health Minister Mark Butler and other politicians calling for laws to control advertising on children’s websites.

Do you think we need government legislation to stop advertisers aiming these products at children?

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