Marketing and your kids. Mom, I need this!

Kid’s under tmag-kids-analog_main-4_3he age of 13 are more connected to media than ever and so are marketers. Just the other evening, I am making dinner and my son comes up to me while playing a game on his iPod and says:


Son: I need your email address

Me: Why?

Son: I am filling out this survey to get free coins and a t-shirt. How many times do we go shopping each month?

Me: You are not getting my email address, because I don’t want a bunch of spam coming to my email.

Son: No mom, that’s not going to happen.

Me: Trust me on this one, I know what is going to happen, I am in marketing!

Son: [Stomps of fuming mad.]

You see, according to him I am one of the few parents in the world that won’t let him have his own iTunes or email account. Fortunately (at least to my knowledge) he hasn’t set up his own email account, which is surprising because he is 9.  Even though he is tech savvy, he is still a vulnerable 9 year old.

This age group is known as Generation Z, the biggest up and coming generation.  The purchasing power of this group is phenomenal, ages 9-13 being $43 billion, according to CMO. Marketers are taking notice. Many parents of this age group are unaware of the tactics some marketers are using. Now, don’t get me wrong not all marketing is out to exploit children. Most are legit and follow the rules set up by the Children’s Online Privacy Act.  But it doesn’t hurt to extra vigilant.

What should parents do?

Know their marketing tactics: Remember companies spend big money to determine how kids think, a big one Pester Power also known as bothering mom and dad until they buy it (I have fallen victim to this tactic) another easy target, advergaming or offering in app purchases or questions.

Teach your kids about privacy. When downloading apps – go straight to the privacy settings and adjust them. Talk to your kids about information they are giving away online. Even the simplest information such as age, birthdate, address, phone number can be used by marketers. If you child is unsure encourage them to ask you before downloading or entering that email address. In app purchases are also a vulnerability. If you can, pay the extra fee to get rid of the advertisements. Reinforce to them not to fill out surveys or questionnaires, these are marketing gold.

Know your rights by visiting and reading COPPA.


3 thoughts on “Marketing and your kids. Mom, I need this!

  1. I am amazed at how well my daughter, who just started Kindergarten, can navigate through the icons on my smartphone with ease, launch the Disney Junior app, and proceed to watch an episode of “Sophia the First” without any help from me. I’ve talked to her about the apps she’s allowed to use, but I’m still concerned about her safety. And, even though the Disney Junior app isn’t directly selling merchandise, there is a lot of Sophia the First toys in the stores.


  2. I actually did my last assignment for our IMC 619 class on Disney Junior and the way that it indirectly markets merchandise through games and online activities. Additionally, the site is automatically programmed to provide customized ads based on a user’s browsing experience and personal interests unless the child (or parent) knows to “opt out.” Once you opt out, the site does not promise to discontinue all ads! It just states that the ads will not be customized or directly targeted to you. What is your opinion of this? As a mom, would you feel that your kids are safe online at Disney Junior?


  3. Pingback: Augmented Reality: Taking it to the Next Level | Drowning in Emerging Media

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