Safer Internet Day
10 February 2011
To mark Safer Internet Day (8 February), the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) has launched guidelines on keeping the online environment safe for children. The guidance coincides with the imminent extension of the ASA’s remit which, from 1 March, will deliver more comprehensive consumer protection online, particularly for children.
The ASA puts the protection of children at the heart of its work and supports UKCCIS’s measures to help industry interact with children online in a responsible way.
The Advertising Code rules surrounding children are intentionally strict. They recognise that children are less experienced and more credulous than adults.
The overarching principle of the rules is that ads addressed to, targeted directly at or featuring children must contain nothing that is likely to result in their physical, mental or moral harm.
In summary, other rules state that ads must not:
- exploit children’s credulity, loyalty, vulnerability or lack of experience
- encourage children to copy practices that might be unsafe for a child
- actively encourage children to make a nuisance of themselves to parents or others and must not undermine parental authority
- make children feel inferior or unpopular for not buying the advertised product
- exaggerate what is attainable by an ordinary child using the product being marketed
Significantly, from 1 March, the protections afforded to children in other media will be extended online when we will start regulating marketing claims on companies’ own websites and in other online space under their control, like Facebook and Twitter.
Extending rules that prevent ads from containing anything likely to result in a child’s mental, physical or moral harm in the online environment is a crucial step in responding to the challenges posed by an ever evolving media landscape.
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Written by Sally Ramsden.