AAP issues guidance on advertising to children

June 26, 2020

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued a statement on keeping children safe from the potential harms of advertising.

With children being exposed to media via television, smartphones, and tablets, there’s also exposure to advertising. The industry has taken notice and spent $3.2 billion on nondigital advertising and $900 million for digital advertising in the United States in just 2018. The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a policy statement on how to keep children safe.

The statement discusses how children aged 7 years and younger have difficulty understanding when someone is trying to persuade them, but this doesn’t mean that children can resist advertising, as children aged as young as 2 years can identify characters and connect them with a product that the characters have endorsed.

The statement offered the following recommendations for parents:

1. Know what the child is accessing and downloading.

2. Monitor privacy settings on all digital devices.

3. Create a family media plan that mostly includes media content with as few ads as possible.

4. Educate the child on how to analyze ads, understand what personal information may be collected, and to be aware of persuasive content.

5. Talk about digital privacy tools used in the child’s school with administrators and teachers.

For providers, the statement recommends:

1. Knowing how children are being targeted and assist parents in understanding how targeting may work.

2. Ask families if they have media use concerns during well-visits.

3. Give families resources that can help them build digital literacy.

4. Encourage parents to consider themselves as digital role models for their children.

5. Advocate for regulations that limit advertising and data collection for children and teenagers.

Reference:

1. Radesky J, Chassiakos Y, Ameenuddin N, Navsaria D. Digital advertising to children. Pediatrics. 2020: 145(6):e20201681. doi:10.1542/peds.2020-1681