Marketing To Minors? The Truth behind it.

The best way to market to children is to market places where kids go. You want to distribute advertising posters in toy stores, bicycle shops, bookstores and many other places. Things like this were easier a couple of years ago. However, with newer technology, marketing to children has been easier due to social media, but there is always a problem with something. As technology gets newer, kids will explore their way around the internet and see and read into things that are not appropriate for them. So, how can we market to kids but still be mindful of legal obligations in marketing to minors?

Why kids matter to marketers.

The APA estimates that children view more than 40,000 commercials each year. This is a huge increase since the 1990s and young people are the target of advertising due to the amount of money they spend either directly or indirectly through their parents. Also, marketers matter to children because kids represent an important demographic to marketers because in addition to their own purchasing power, they can also influence their parents buying decisions and are the adult consumers of the future. I know we have all convinced our parents to buy us something when we all were younger, because I used to do it all the time. I would always convince my mom, dad, aunt, older siblings, anyone who would take me out to buy me the latest thing that came out or have to watch the newest show that came out. 

Ways we can market to kids but still be mindful of legal obligation in marketing to minors:

  • Properly categorizing mature content 
  • Enabling practices to get consent, and
  • abiding by FTC Advertising regulations and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection act (COPPA) 

COPPA is a federal law that forbids deceptive or unfair acts or practices related to the collection, use and disclosure of information regarding children on the internet. Any FTC rule implementing COPPA forces websites to get verification from parental consent before collecting, using or disclosing their children’s information. 

This can help market to kids but still be mindful of legal obligations in marketing to minors by letting marketers know their limitations with marketing kid’s content, whether they are marketing a platform, kid’s product, or whatever else. I think this will be good because it allows the parents to be in on it as well. They will have the right to know what’s going on when it comes to marketing to minors. 

COPPA Requirements

  1. Data collected on children must have a way to be erased after a certain amount of time.
  2. You must have verifiable consent from an approved age individual.
  3. Devices that can be connected to the internet and targeted to kids have to meet data security standards.
  4. You must have a straight-forward policy, that is translated to where children will understand knowledge on how the data is used.
  5. Give a reasonable notice of your data intentions to the parents of the minor children.
  6. Establish different types of procedures to protect the information collected of the minor.

Posting mature content

It’s very obvious that you cannot advertise alcohol, tobacco, violence, nudity, and many other types of sensitive content or subjects to children. Our responsibility is to age-restrict your content on public platforms like YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and many more. We will also want this to be as protected as possible when it comes to children, because nowadays kids are very smart. From the moment they start walking they begin to learn so much just off of their environment and surroundings. Honestly, I think it’s cool how fast children learn things and how fast they can grasp all of these types of  technology. However, I do find it quite interesting how some kids will own a phone before the age ten, I got my first phone at the age of thirteen. A lot has changed over the years and it will only change more. 

YouTube Age restrictions

TikTok Age restrictions

Instagram Age restrictions

For you and your company’s protection against children looking at your restricted products or services, you would need a legal-binding agreement that whoever visits your website has to check. Once they check it, whether it’s a parent or guardian it will assure you that they’re 18 years or older. Once you set legal documentation about marketing to children it will be completely in the parents hands. They will have the control to see what’s going with their kids when they see the kind of marketing thats being promoted.

Most online platforms such as TikTok, and YouTube have their age restrictions settings in place that are easy to set up and use, so you would not have to make them yourselves. I believe in the time we live in now, age restrictions setting should be easy to set up and use for all platforms, because these kids are smart and they can easily get into things they see on the internet with just the click of the button. 

Although marketing for kids will be harder to do in the time that we live in when everything we see are inappropriate and kids find a way to make it appropriate for them, following the rules of marketing to kids will be the main way to market to kids but still be mindful of legal obligations in marketing to minors. Following all the guidelines such as the COPPA, making appropriate and mature content for children. Even having contracts with businesses whether we are partnering or collaborating with them for an event, setting a contract with whoever you are doing business with, especially dealing with kids, will have more rules in place and what will or will not be allowed. But we must do what we can for legal reasons and to protect ourselves from getting backlash from parents of any kind through social media.

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