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Ad industry to teach kids to be more marketing aware online

Ad industry to teach kids to be more marketing aware online

Children are being encouraged to be more aware and think more critically of digital advertising with the launch of a new national programme called Digital Adwise.

Launched by advertising industry, the initiative aims to reach the 77% of children who regularly use the internet.

Children are an easy target for marketers these days as they spend so much of their day online or in front of the television – so easy in fact that advertising to children is now a £99 billion industry, according to the authors of ‘Consumer Kids’ Ed Mayo and Agnes Nairn.  

But some brands are doing their bit to put a stop to the relentless and sophisticated marketing techniques that are being used to capture the attention of kids. Mars, Kellogs, McDonalds, BTHA, Ferrero, Lego, Mattell and Hasbro have all funded the Digital Adwsie initiative, which is also supported by the wider advertising industry, including the IPA.

Digital Adwise is a set of free online lessons which will allow children to learn about digital content in a “fun and engaging” way.

The program responds to public concerns about children's exposure to online advertising – a £2.78 billion industry.

All primary schools will be able to access the programme at

Speaking at yesterdays launch event, Siôn Simon MP said, “Digital Adwise is cutting edge. In today's media environment, children need to be helped and supported to think critically about the media, particularly in relation to the internet and advertising, and these materials do exactly that.”

Paul Jackson, Chairman of Media Smart, added, “There is a real need for children to be helped to become more media savvy now that they are going online more often. They come across a lot of messages on the internet and Digital Adwise will help them to spot and think carefully about online advertising. Media literacy is more important than ever now that children have TVs games consoles and the internet in their bedrooms.”

The launch follows last week’s announcement that funding for extending the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) remit to marketing on websites has been agreed, marking the changing consumer focus from traditional to digital media.

Digital Adwise is the latest addition to the industry's media literacy programme MediaSmart; a non-profit media literacy programme for school children aged six to 11 years-old which develops and provides free educational materials to primary schools to teach core media literacy skills

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