Hil frets chips will be put in kids' brains
BY MICHAEL McAULIFF
DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU
WASHINGTON - Madison Ave. ad execs are so bent on taking control of America's children, they'd put computer chips in kids' brains if they could, Sen. Hillary Clinton said yesterday.
Saying advertisers have found so many new ways to get at kids through video games and the Internet, Clinton warned that we're verging on a society out of a grim science fiction novel.
"At the rate that technology is advancing, people will be implanting chips in our children to advertise directly into their brains and tell them what kind of products to buy," Clinton said at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The New York Democrat said the country was performing a "massive experiment" on kids who average more than six hours a day with media and advertising, soaking it up through TV, computers, games and iPods. She said the fastest growing advertising market is the 6- and under set, and that children's health is already being hurt by products like Camel's candy-flavored cigarettes and junk food sold with tips for video games - used to sell more junk food.
"People are spending billions and billions of dollars enticing children basically to be obsessed with food," she said. "These foods are almost universally unhealthy." Clinton has offered legislation to study the effects of the "advertising-saturated, media-intense" world on kids.
Robert Thompson, a professor of pop culture at Syracuse University, said Clinton and other politicians like to attack advertising because it's easier than trying to ban bad food products or fund broad education programs.
"To go after advertising really makes no sense," he said. "It's sort of a backdoor tack, but it's the safer one politically."