How advertisers target your teen’s smartphone and how to cope

In the age of digital marketing, teens are now the soft targets for advertisers, because in most of families they convince their parents to buy the latest fashions or the newest gadgets, and their choice prevails ultimately. Their buying power is no secret even before they start earning. So, it is understandable that brands would try to find ways to target this segment through their advertisements on variegated forums. Since newspapers and television have already become less popular, advertisers are looking for other routes to market their products and smartphones in hands of tweens provide them immense opportunity. 

On contrary to traditional commercials, brands are experimenting in very creative fashion to reach out to teens. Social media has given them the requisite field, as forums like YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat are the territories to associate with teens and tweens. Since these apps are very popular in this age group, brands in a very creative way have mixed ad and entertainment to market their products, and there is a thin line to understand the difference. 

 In a new trend, brands have partnered with popular YouTube personalities, known as influencers, to promote their products. For example, a YouTube celebrity that children watch for fashion tips, gaming commentary, or humour – who might be a teen like them – may have been sponsored or also be getting paid to flaunt shoes of a brand or the latest game console. Brands are also releasing their own filters on Snapchat for users to apply to their photos. These brands are also offering their own apps for kids to shop with, and of these Amazon is now offering teen accounts for children as young as 13.  

The movement of teens on various apps and their online activities are watched on social media and gaming sites. These platforms also sell or share user data with outside companies, giving advertisers information to make targeted ads. For example, if your child is keen to buy new shoes on a site, he/she is likely to see ads for the same on other sites too. 

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) strives to protect children under 13 from data collection efforts. But effort is not effective as there are sites that require users to be 13 or older to make an account without even verifying the age of their users. Advertisers track such children’s online activities to target them with ads. 

Since there is no provision to check such practices, the onus lies on parents. It may sound very simple that advertisers are targeting teens and tweens, but ads appearing on your children’s smartphone could be problematic. Targeted ads are supposed to appeal very specifically to individual users. We can take a few examples like ads related weight loss may encourage unhealthy dieting in a teen with self-esteem issues. Such ads watched by young smartphone users is most likely to affect their self-confidence. Parents must talk to teens about these things so that they can recognize such ads and may not fall prey to words of a social media influencer. 

Parents should also make effort that their kids take regular breaks from social media and the advertising that goes with it. It is difficult to put a complete sensor but imposing sensible limits on your child’s smartphone use can be helpful.   

Parental control software can help you protect your kids from overzealous advertising. It is obvious you do not want to spend the day playing the secret agent, but Kiddoware’s safe browser can be helpful. Once installed, it will not only give a safety net but also check your kid’s online activity. The amazing web filter and content filtering on it will help your kids to browse safe content.

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