Why Marketers Must Keep Kidsí Safety In Mind
Written by eMarketer
08 Jul 2010
As kids and teens increase online activity, regulators mull new rules
More than one-quarter of parents with kids under 18 think their children will be spending more time online now that summer vacation is getting started, according to a June survey by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA).
While many kids will focus on “traditional” entertainment, like video games, social networks will be a top online activity for one-quarter.
By and large, parents felt their kids knew how to be safe online, and most limit their kids’ use of the Web during the summer months. More than 85% regularly check up on kids’ digital activities, mostly on desktop and laptop computers.
Child mobile ownership is also up, and teens are using phones increasingly to surf the mobile Web in addition to their usual texting and talking activities.
Kids are even adding more media time to their day through multitasking. Ipsos OTX MediaCT found that between the two waves of its “LMX Family” study, conducted in November 2008 and November 2009, kids and teens effectively increased the length of their day by 3 hours and reported more time spent online and watching TV at once.
Despite parents’ overall confidence in their children, their interactions online can sometimes be unsafe. Cox Communications and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children found that as teens have become bigger users of social networks and other similar sites they have begun posting more personal information to the Web.
Between 2007 and 2010 teens became more likely to publish the city they live in and the name of their school, and more than three times as many teens have put their mobile number online.
Many teens told Cox they recognized the danger of some of their activities, but the vast majority did not check with their parents before posting information to the Web.
And one-half allowed unrestricted access to their online profiles.
Marketers might find the data teens post about themselves attractive, and many are looking for innovative ways to reach kids and teens on their ever-present mobile phones.
But as the Web goes mobile and social networking sites come under fire for privacy gaffes, regulators are considering further rules around kids’ data.
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), passed in 2000, is getting new attention as some argue that it prohibits all behavioral targeting to kids under 13.
There is also question about whether the rule can be applied to non-Internet-based technologies such as text messaging and what counts as “personal information” under the law.
Marketers will have to tread lightly when dealing with minors, both because of existing regulations and the possibility of new ones.
As newer channels like mobile and social networking become increasingly important destinations for kids and teens, effective self-regulation could head off some of the possible restrictions strict legislation or rule-making could bring.
23 June 2010