Your Kid’s Apps Are Crammed With Ads

New York Times 

  • A new study by Dr. Jenny Radesky, assistant professor of developmental behavioral pediatrics at the University of Michigan Medical School, found advertising present in almost all of the most downloaded apps for children ages five and younger, many of which appear to violate the F.T.C. rules regarding unfair and deceptive advertising.
  • “In apps marketed for children 5 and under in the Google Play store, there were pop-up ads with disturbing imagery. There were ads that no child could reasonably be expected to close out of, and which, when triggered, would send a player into more ads. Dancing treasure chests would give young players points for watching video ads, potentially endlessly. The vast majority of ads were not marked at all. Characters in children’s games gently pressured the kids to make purchases, a practice known as host-selling, banned in children’s TV programs in 1974 by the Federal Trade Commission. At other times an onscreen character would cry if the child did not buy something.”
  • “To accompany the publication of the study, called “Advertising in Young Children’s Apps: A Content Analysis”, more than a dozen media and children’s health advocacy organizations sent the F.T.C. a letter asking for an investigation.” They argue that the advertising tactics described in the study “violate Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, which bans unfair and deceptive business practices.”
  • “The tide has turned… You can feel it. A few years ago to suggest limiting tech for kids would have sounded alarmist, and now that’s changing. It’s unfair to children and deceptive the way the ads are structured into the play” – Dr. Montgomery, a professor of Communications at American University)
  • “The hardest argument to make when you live in the U.S. is that children’s rights should be higher than the rights of advertisers”
  • Many of the apps looked at in the study were free apps.
  • The authors argue that the “bombardment of advertising undercuts most of the educational content an app may include.”
  • Dr. Jenny Radesky, the study’s author, “hopes the study will lead parents to ask more questions about the games their kids are playing. And she hopes it leads to regulation, though she suspects that will be a harder battle.”

Read full New York Times article here: Your Kid’s Apps Are Crammed With Ads

City and schools can lead the charge against junk food

Ottawa Citizen

Expert:
…And while a great deal has changed over the course of the past 50 years, one of the most dramatic changes has been to food culture. There doesn’t seem to be an occasion too small to not warrant the use of junk food to reward, pacify or entertain, and is there a cause nowadays that isn’t encouraging an already overindulgent nation to purchase more junk food to fund children’s hospitals, schools, sports teams, kids’ clubs and more? 
 
Though changing social norms is not likely to be quick or easy, leadership needs to come from beyond the grassroots if we’re going to see new healthy norms grow. Cities are in a unique position to play an important role.
 
Because it’s not enough to simply tell people to make healthier choices. Though I’ve seen signs stationed beside my local sporting arena’s vending machines encouraging potential customers to make low- or no-calorie choices, will a well-intentioned sign outweigh the fact that at the Walter Baker Centre (for instance), there are nine vending machines, 37 quarter candy slots, and a canteen that offers almost exclusively no-name fast food options? If education alone were sufficient to permanently change behaviour, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in.
Read full article: ARMCHAIR MAYOR: City and schools can lead the charge against junk food 
 
Retweet Heart & Stroke: Some good food for thought from @YoniFreedhoff: cities are in a unique position to improve our food environment by removing the sale of junk food at city-run facilities including arenas, libraries and schools #Marketing2Kids

ARMCHAIR MAYOR: City and schools can lead the charge against junk food

Ottawa Citizen

A great OpEd by Dr. Yoni Freedoff, highlighting the important role that cities and schools have in improving our food landscape and health trajectories.

Expert:

“…And while a great deal has changed over the course of the past 50 years, one of the most dramatic changes has been to food culture. There doesn’t seem to be an occasion too small to not warrant the use of junk food to reward, pacify or entertain, and is there a cause nowadays that isn’t encouraging an already overindulgent nation to purchase more junk food to fund children’s hospitals, schools, sports teams, kids’ clubs and more?

Though changing social norms is not likely to be quick or easy, leadership needs to come from beyond the grassroots if we’re going to see new healthy norms grow. Cities are in a unique position to play an important role.

Because it’s not enough to simply tell people to make healthier choices. Though I’ve seen signs stationed beside my local sporting arena’s vending machines encouraging potential customers to make low- or no-calorie choices, will a well-intentioned sign outweigh the fact that at the Walter Baker Centre (for instance), there are nine vending machines, 37 quarter candy slots, and a canteen that offers almost exclusively no-name fast food options? If education alone were sufficient to permanently change behaviour, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in.”

Retweet Heart & Stroke: Some good food for thought from @YoniFreedhoff: cities are in a unique position to improve our food environment by removing the sale of junk food at city-run facilities including arenas, libraries and schools #Marketing2Kids

Public-health experts applaud New Brunswick’s decision to ban chocolate milk, fruit juice in schools

Seriously, Juice is Not Healthy

The New York Times

Excerpts: 
“Despite all the marketing and government support, fruit juices contain limited nutrients and tons of sugar. In fact, one 12-ounce glass of orange juice contains 10 teaspoons of sugar, which is roughly what’s in a can of Coke”.
“Juice should no longer be served regularly in day care centers and schools. Public health efforts should challenge government guidelines that equate fruit juice with whole fruit, because these guidelines most likely fuel the false perception that drinking fruit juice is good for health”

Nancy Greene Raine on Olympic memories, staying active and fighting Tony the Tiger

Global News

Excerpts: Re: push-back on restricting Tony the Tiger || “This was a 50-year-old man talking about how important Tony the Tiger was. It just tells me how powerful [advertising] was, that even today, he has an emotional connection to that cartoon character… [t]hey know if they get brand loyalty at an early age they have a customer for life” – former Senator Nancy Greene Raine

Read full article…

Half of food and drink TV ads seen by children are for unhealthy products – study

The Gaurdian

“Half of food and drink advertisements children see on television are for junk food, sugary drinks and outlets such as McDonald’s, prompting fresh calls for tougher action to limit exposure to them.

The research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies comes amid calls for the government to impose much tougher restrictions on the ability of food manufacturers and retailers to advertise junk foods as part of a crackdown on childhood obesity”. 

Read full article…

 

Bill banning marketing of unhealthy food and drink faces final hurdle

Hill Times

Excerpt:

The lobbyist registry shows that a campaign against the bill has also been raging behind closed doors.

Soft drink manufacturers, industry associations, broadcasters and advertisers have been speaking with Senators and MPs about this bill.

I say again—why would these groups spend so much time, energy and money on this if marketing to kids doesn’t work?

Industry recognizes that the most powerful lobbyists are kids themselves. Parents know how tempting it is to give in when their children pester them for junk food at the grocery store. Even people without kids know full well how insistent they can be when they want something in a store. Children, like parliamentarians, can be very loud, very insistent and very difficult to distract.

Read full article (subscription required) 

YouTube stars might be encouraging children to eat more calories, finds study

Independent

Social media stars might be encouraging children to eat more unhealthy foods, new research suggests.

The study, conducted by the University of Liverpool, was devised amid growing calls for tougher restrictions on junk food advertising to tackle the obesity crisis. Read full article…

Food firms could face litigation over neuromarketing to hijack brains

The Guardian

Leading obesity experts are considering litigation against the food industry in the light of emerging research suggesting that junk food marketing could hijack a child’s brain.

Neuromarketing is of growing interest to food companies. Fast food, soft drinks and snack companies increasingly interact with children through social media and online games. Some are beginning to probe further, gathering information through brain scans about how unconscious decisions are made to eat one snack rather than another and targeting people’s susceptibilities. A report on food neuromarketing to children by the Centre for Digital Democracy in 2011 predicted “an explosive rise in new tactics targeted especially at young people”.

Read full article