What are your kids watching on the Internet right now? [PART 2]

What are your kids watching on the Internet right now? [PART 2]

This is the second instalment of our AdZouk Insights – two part blog series

Welcome back – today we conclude our AdZouk insights series on: “What are your children watching on the Internet right now?” We look at our Kid’s and the Digital Advertising industry in the MENA region and, why new media outlets are scrambling to understand Generation Z and the soon to emerge Generation Alpha.

Today we investigate Gen Zs and their obsession with consumerism, how global brands are taking advantage of the malleable 0-13 demographic. And finally, we give Advertisers and Publishers the chance be the first in the MENA region to interact with “tweens” [0-13] in a kid safe compliant environment.


Gen Z’s as consumers


Adzouk Quote 1 - social media-2Z’ders aged between 6-12 are a group who are targeted profusely by marketing, fashion, advertising, celebrities and music – There are just under 1 million tweens (0-14) according to the most recent 2014 statistics, and they have an estimated average disposable spend of $100 per week, which is 3 times that of the global average, as an estimate this would roughly equate to an annual combined spend of $4,320,000,000.

One of the strongest tools that brands rely on is peer pressure, teens by and large experience peer pressure on a daily basis, teens find that their peer group places considerable pressure to conform to the latest trends – last thing insecure teens want, is to be seen as uncool. The most marketed-to generation ever, the Z’s watch well over 40,000 commercials a year [with this number likely to fluctuate depending upon how many devices kids are exposed to].

Because the parents of the Zeds in the UAE [both expat and Emirati] are usually financially well off, and with a high disposable income it can seem easier to concede to your kids latest wants.

UAE parents spent approximately $355 million (Dh1.3 billion) of the $686 million in retail value in 2014, which accounted for traditional toys and games, with video game hardware and software accounting for $331 million, this grew a further 11 per cent in 2015 to reach $762 million according to the report called ‘Toys and Games in the UAE’.

To get Z’eders to buy, marketers are creating advertisements that fully engage them, they play into there insecurities, especially those linked to social worth and value among their peers – products are now designed to make Gen Z feel socially connected, the experience must be fun and entertaining, achieving the ultimate cool factor, while making them socially desirable, to be seen as a trend setter. 

Why you need to safeguard kids!

Adzouk insights quoteSo how can you safeguard your children from companies who are all clamming over each other in order to get a piece of the 23 billion dollar industry pie [US food advertising statistics] which is clearly focused on monetizing advertising content, with very little effort to actually protect our children.

It is widely known that children under the age of eight are unable to discriminate between advertising and factual programming, and are likely to accept advertisers’ messages as truthful, accurate and unbiased, according to an American Psychological Association report published in 2004.

 We managed to regulate for TV, so why can’t we call for regulations be adapted to fit the ever-changing landscape of mobile and online advertising?

Earlier this month child and consumer advocacy groups filed a complaint with the United States Federal Trade Commission asking it to investigate Google over unfair and deceptive advertising practices in connection with its YouTube Kidsapp. The complaint stipulated that, the app includes ads that are displayed in a way that takes advantage of children’s developmental vulnerabilities.

The video segments on the app have copious Preroll ads endorsing toys and other products, they show up as if triggered by user-generated searches, but the complaints outline that in fact they have undisclosed relationships with product manufacturers.

That’s in violation of the FTC’s guidelines on the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. Further, the complaint contends that Google markets the app claiming all Preroll ads are preapproved by YouTube’s policy team, which ensures compliance with the app’s rigorous children’s advertising policy, however, much of the Preroll content being disputed grossly undermines that policy.

Online advertising is here to stay, and with screen time only increasing in kids aged between 2-13 – chances are they are going to be bombarded with inappropriate ad content of some kind, or they will be subject to programmatic data collection. Let’s be honest, no one is going to walk away from such a lucrative market segment, so our only hope of safeguarding them is to help change the industry, [advertisers and publishers] to achieve the best possible standards in digital kids marketing. Currently the MENA region has not yet adopted the COPPA advertising regulations, which allows brands to interact with “tweens” [0-13] in a kid safe compliant environment.





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“The real question is, ‘Is it justified?’ and those are moral decisions a parent has to make. What we believe is that when it comes to protecting your child from these things – privacy is trumped by protection.”

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