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Senators Clinton and Brownback Keynote Conference on Digital Advertising Targeting Children

Jul 20, 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C.—A conference including Senators Clinton (D-NY) and Brownback (R-KS), FCC commissioners, media industry executives, leading children’s media academics, and public health and children’s advocates, is being held today to explore current and emerging digital advertising practices targeting children. Children Now, a leading nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to assuring all children thrive, is holding the conference to discuss the new methods of advertising and marketing that are being used to reach children today, what’s on the horizon and potential steps to take in order to best protect children’s well-being in a rapidly changing media environment.

Advergames, or Internet games that feature specific products, and text messages sent directly to children’s mobile phones, are two examples of modern marketing techniques. Major food manufacturers, fast food companies and other businesses targeting children already are employing these and other new tactics. Research shows that children are uniquely vulnerable to commercial persuasion, which prompted Congress and the FCC to establish rules governing television advertising to children through the Children’s Television Act. But similar rules don’t exist for the many types of digital media, such as the Internet and podcasting, that are beginning to account for a growing share of children’s media consumption.

“Once you move content off of TV, the same rules don’t apply,” said Patti Miller, director of Children Now’s Children & the Media program. “And the digital media landscape is evolving so rapidly that we need to get out in front of it in order to ensure that children can benefit from all it has to offer but at the same time be protected from potential harm.”

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