Interactive Marketing to Kids Presents 'Significant Risks'

10 June 2004

Children targeted by new interactive marketing techniques could be subject to "significant risks", accuses US public interest group, the Center for Digital Democracy.

In a letter delivered Wednesday to the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, CDD executive director Jeffrey Chester argues: "In light of the aggressive marketing practices that the new digital technologies have unleashed ... it is now time to re-evaluate the ways in which we shield young people from the excesses of the immersive, interactive media environment."

The CDD indictment continues: "We believe that [current] targeting and data collection strategies, in combination with the pervasiveness of interactive advertising within the child and youth media markets, have created a new commercial media environment that poses significant risks to the psychosocial development of youth."

Chester expresses his "hope that the Commission will join with us in asking that the advertising and marketing industry declare a moratorium on any marketing techniques that -- in the absence of independent research suggesting otherwise -- could potentially harm or negatively affect children and youth."

Dan Jaffe, evp of the Association of National Advertisers was at the ready with a counterblast, calling the diatribe a "classic example of verdict first, trial later". He accused the CDD of presenting "all interactive advertising as though it is an illicit activity".

The issue is likely to combust today (Thursday) at a news conference called by the CDD and other concerned organizations, among them Children Now, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff