Breaking News
February 23, 2019 - Hepatocellular carcinoma diagnosis, prognosis and treatment may improve by identifying a protein
February 23, 2019 - The American Heart Association issues new reference toolkit for healthcare providers
February 23, 2019 - Studies explore physiological dangers that climate change will have on animal life
February 23, 2019 - Penn study reveals increase in health-related internet searches before ER visits
February 23, 2019 - Intensive therapy during early stages of MS leads to better long-term outcomes
February 23, 2019 - Prenatal Fluconazole Exposure Increases Neonatal Risks
February 23, 2019 - Mental Health Screening: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information
February 23, 2019 - Study suggests birth mechanics are part of the process that leads to autism
February 23, 2019 - Unhealthy diet linked to poor mental health
February 23, 2019 - Study gives a snapshot of crocodile evolution
February 23, 2019 - Research finds steep rise in self-poisonings among young people
February 23, 2019 - American Gastroenterological Association announces “AGA Future Leaders Program”
February 23, 2019 - Scientists uncover new mechanisms regulating neural stem cells
February 23, 2019 - Combinations of certain insecticides turn out to be lethal for honeybees
February 23, 2019 - AHA News: Why Are Black Women at Higher Risk of Dying From Pregnancy Complications?
February 23, 2019 - NIMH » Anxiety Disorders
February 23, 2019 - Autistic people urgently need access to tailored mental health support
February 23, 2019 - Newly designed molecule could benefit people with Friedrich’s Ataxia
February 23, 2019 - Chinese CRISPR twins may have better cognition and memory
February 23, 2019 - Study finds new genetic clues associated with asthma in African ancestry populations
February 23, 2019 - Fetal signaling pathways may offer future opportunities to treat lung damage
February 23, 2019 - Early-stage osteoarthritis drug wins prestigious innovation award
February 23, 2019 - Researchers report positive findings with dasotraline for ADHD in children ages 6-12
February 23, 2019 - News study reanalyzes the effects of noncaloric sweeteners on gut microbiota
February 23, 2019 - New device allows scientists to reproduce blow effects on the heart in lab
February 23, 2019 - Holy herb identified as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease
February 23, 2019 - New technology platform digitally counts growth factors in single cells
February 23, 2019 - Surgery and other treatments offer viable options for adult scoliosis
February 23, 2019 - Reduced antibody adaptability may make the elderly more vulnerable to influenza
February 23, 2019 - Researchers find increased rates of CRC screening in Kentucky after Medicaid expansion
February 23, 2019 - Neighborhood income, education associated with risk of disability progression in MS patients
February 23, 2019 - Endocrine Society opposes new rule that restricts access to Title X Family Planning Program
February 23, 2019 - 2019 guidelines for management of patients with atrial fibrillation
February 23, 2019 - Surprise rheumatoid arthritis discovery points to new treatment for joint inflammation
February 23, 2019 - A just-right fix for a tiny heart
February 23, 2019 - UMass Amherst scientist explores role of citrus peel in decreasing gut inflammation
February 23, 2019 - Owlstone Medical and Shanghai Renji Hospital collaborate to initiate breath biopsy lung cancer trial
February 23, 2019 - AMSBIO’s comprehensive portfolio of knock-out cell lines and lysates
February 23, 2019 - New app reliably determines physicians’ skills in forming accurate, efficient diagnoses
February 23, 2019 - Peripheral nerve injury can trigger the onset and spread of ALS, shows study
February 23, 2019 - Researchers uncover mechanisms that prevent tooth replacement in mice
February 23, 2019 - Once-a-day capsule offers new way to reduce symptoms of chronic breathlessness
February 23, 2019 - FDA Adds Boxed Warning for Increased Risk of Death with Gout Medicine Uloric (febuxostat)
February 23, 2019 - Phone-based intervention aids rheumatoid arthritis care
February 23, 2019 - Opioid epidemic makes eastern inroads and targets African-Americans
February 23, 2019 - New identified biomarker predicts patients who might benefit from HER2-targeted agents
February 23, 2019 - Study offers new insights into mechanisms of changes in erythrocytes under stress
February 23, 2019 - Antipsychotic polypharmacy may be beneficial for schizophrenia patients
February 23, 2019 - Researchers investigate how marijuana and tobacco co-use affects quit attempts by smokers
February 23, 2019 - Patients with diabetes mellitus have high risk of stable ischemic heart disease
February 23, 2019 - Transparency on healthcare prices played key role in Arizona health system’s turnaround
February 23, 2019 - A comprehensive, multinational review of peppers around the world
February 23, 2019 - Study finds modest decrease in burnout among physicians
February 23, 2019 - A simple change can drastically reduce unnecessary tests for urinary tract infections
February 23, 2019 - Deep Learning-Enhanced Device Detects Diabetic Retinopathy
February 23, 2019 - Researchers discover new binding partner for amyloid precursor protein
February 23, 2019 - Modest decrease seen in burnout among physicians, researchers say | News Center
February 23, 2019 - Transplanting bone marrow of young mice into old mice prevents cognitive decline
February 23, 2019 - Mogrify to accelerate novel IP and cell therapies using $3.7m USD funding
February 23, 2019 - Johns Hopkins study describes cells that may help speed bone repair
February 23, 2019 - Scientists demonstrate influence of food odors on proteostasis
February 23, 2019 - Researchers unlock the secret behind reproduction of fish called ‘Mary’
February 23, 2019 - Acupuncture Could Help Ease Menopausal Symptoms
February 23, 2019 - Researchers use AI to detect early signs of Alzheimer’s
February 23, 2019 - On recovery, vulnerability and ritual: An exhibit in white | News Center
February 23, 2019 - Memory Stored in Unexpected Region of the Brain
February 23, 2019 - Several health experts worldwide gather at EUDONORGAN event
February 23, 2019 - Discovery of potent compound in native California shrub may lead to treatment for Alzheimer’s
February 22, 2019 - Researchers create new map of the brain’s own immune system
February 22, 2019 - ICHE’s reviews on surgical infections, unnecessary urine tests, and nurses’ role in antibiotic stewardship
February 22, 2019 - UK Research and Innovation invests £200 million to create new generation of AI leaders
February 22, 2019 - Takeda collaboration to boost fight against Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases
February 22, 2019 - Heavy drinking may change DNA, leading to increased craving for alcohol
February 22, 2019 - U.S. opioid deaths jump fourfold in 20 years; epidemic shifts to Eastern states | News Center
February 22, 2019 - 5 Questions with William Turner on Diversity in Medicine
February 22, 2019 - HHS Finalizes Rule Seeking To Expel Planned Parenthood From Family Planning Program
February 22, 2019 - Researchers uncover biochemical pathway that may help identify drugs to treat Alzheimer’s
February 22, 2019 - Biologist uses new grant to find ways to eliminate schistosomiasis
February 22, 2019 - Bag-mask ventilation to help patients breathe during intubation prevents complications
February 22, 2019 - AbbVie Announces New Drug Application Accepted for Priority Review by FDA for Upadacitinib for Treatment of Moderate to Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis
Advertising in kids’ apps more prevalent than parents may realize

Advertising in kids’ apps more prevalent than parents may realize

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

From games inspired by popular TV shows to digital play labeled as educational, children’s apps continue to explode on smartphones and tablets.

But parents may not realize that while their little ones are learning letters and numbers or enjoying virtual adventures, they’re also likely being targeted by advertisers.

Ninety-five percent of commonly downloaded apps marketed to or played by children ages 5 and under contain at least one type of advertising, according to a new study led by University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

Published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, the study reviewed 135 different apps—and it marks the first effort to examine the prevalence of advertising in children’s apps.

Researchers found play was frequently interrupted by pop-up video ads, persuasion by commercial characters to make in-app purchases to enhance the game experience and overt banner ads that could be distracting, misleading and not always age-appropriate.

“With young children now using mobile devices on an average of one hour a day, it’s important to understand how this type of commercial exposure may impact children’s health and well-being,” says senior author Jenny Radesky, M.D., a developmental behavioral expert and pediatrician at Mott.

Radesky notes that her team found high rates of mobile advertising through manipulative and disruptive methods—with exposure to ads even surpassing time spent playing the game in some cases.

“Our findings show that the early childhood app market is a wild west, with a lot of apps appearing more focused on making money than the child’s play experience,” she says. “This has important implications for advertising regulation, the ethics of child app design, as well as how parents discern which children’s apps are worth downloading.”

Ads target youngest players

Researchers detailed experiences with advertisements during gameplay of the most popular children’s apps.

Although 100 percent of surveyed free apps contained advertising content (compared to 88 percent of purchased apps), the ads occurred at similar rates in both types of apps categorized as educational.

Ad videos interrupting play were prevalent in more than a third of all analyzed apps and in more than half of free apps. In-app purchases were also present in a third of all apps, and in 41 percent of all free apps.

This discrepancy worries Radesky: “I’m concerned about digital disparities, as children from lower-income families are more likely to play free apps, which are packed with more distracting and persuasive ads.”

Some ads were particularly deceptive: Familiar commercial characters would appear on-screen to remind players that paying for certain in-app upgrades and purchases would give them access to more appealing options and make the game more fun.

Overt banner ads covering the sides or top and/or bottom of the screen during gameplay were also present in 17 percent of all apps and 27 percent of free apps. Some banners promoted adult-appropriate apps that required a user to watch the full promo before a box could be closed.

Authors note that prior research has found children ages 8 and younger can’t distinguish between media content and advertising—and that fewer regulations apply to advertising in apps than on television—which raises further ethical questions around the practice.

“Commercial influences may negatively impact children’s play and creativity,” Radesky says. “Digital-based advertising is more personalized, on-demand and embedded within interactive mobile devices, and children may think it’s just part of the game.”

Youths’ privacy at risk

Researchers also documented prompts within the apps to share information, most commonly asking players to share their progress or score on social media sites.

However, 17 of the apps reviewed requested phone permission, 11 asked for microphone permission, nine asked for camera permission and six requested location permission.

While some of the permissions were likely requested to allow certain functions during play, authors point out that collecting data on a child’s location is a potential violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The law, managed by the Federal Trade Commission, was created to protect the privacy of children under 13.

TV advertising regulations also limit commercial breaks during viewing segments, but there are no regulations focused on digital advertising approaches for children.

There is also growing concern among pediatricians and other experts that low-quality content and distracting visual and sound effects in popular apps may not be designed appropriately for children to learn, says Marisa Meyer, the study’s lead author.

That prevalence also diminishes the educational quality of apps, she says.

“We know that time on mobile devices is displacing time children used to spend watching TV,” says Meyer, research assistant at the U-M Medical School. “Parents may view apps that are marketed as educational as harmless and even beneficial to their child’s learning and development.”

The findings, Meyer says, suggest the need for heightened scrutiny of apps in the educational category.

“We hope further research will help us better understand the consequences of digital media advertisement, which hasn’t caught up with the rapid growth of digital media products catered to children,” she says.

Child consumer advocacy groups, led by Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, plan to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission about the study’s findings.


Explore further:
Health apps and the sharing of information with third parties

More information:
Marisa Meyer et al. Advertising in Young Childrenʼs Apps, Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics (2018). DOI: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000622 , journals.lww.com/jrnldbp/Abstr … A_Content.99257.aspx

Provided by:
University of Michigan

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles