Children live their everyday lives in an environment where they encounter commercial communications. Web sites targeted at children use marketing strategies that are based on advertisement games and social networks. Because the boundary between entertainment and marketing is blurring, network marketing can be difficult to distinguish from advertisement-free content.
When the impact of advertisement games on children was examined, it turned out that children have more difficulties in identifying advertising content than they themselves realise.
Although children perceive the games as commercial and online advertisements as irritating, the advertisements contained in games affect children's behaviour at subconscious level. Children who had played a game advertising snacks with high energy content ate more snacks than those who had played a game advertising toys. The younger the child, the more susceptible they are to the adverse effects of advertising.
In addition to the commercial communication included on pages targeted at children, the children also encounter inappropriate advertising on the Internet Parents can guide older children on how to protect themselves against advertising by teaching them, for example, about how they can restrict the disclosure of their personal data and instructing them to ask for parental permission. Smaller children, in particular, can be protected through the use of barring software.
Parties in control of marketing assess the marketing targeted at children particularly closely, as children are more susceptible to the effects of marketing than adults. Advertising and marketing are considered to be targeted at children when aimed directly at children, or when commercial communication concerns a product or service that children find interesting.
Parents can demand that advertisers carry responsibility for the type of marketing children are surrounded by. Inform the advertiser whenever you think that marketing is inappropriate for children.
You can also report the matter to the Consumer Ombudsman, who supervises marketing targeted at children.
Notification of inappropriate marketing (in Finnish and Swedish)
Your child watches advertisements – you can influence which kind