By Max Clarke

Businesses have been warned against taking advantage of new technology to advertise to children, after a survey revealed that 88 per cent of parents are unaware of Facebook advertising’s influence on their young.

The survey of over 2000 adults, by marketing specialists Verridian, comes in the wake of Facebook’s plans to challenge the law stopping children using the site.

Heather Pettitt, marketing manager, Verridian says, “These results are really concerning. Children now spend two hours online every day, and much of this on Facebook. In fact one in five children already has a Facebook page.

“However, it seems parents are unaware of the exposure their children have to advertising on this platform — even though unlike TV advertising, it can be highly targeted and personalised based on their online behaviour.”

“The speed social networks like Facebook are developing means that advertising regulations lag behind. But this does not mean that brands should exploit this to undertake marketing that encourages pester power. Brands should adhere to responsible marketing practices and avoid targeting children in Facebook advertising. Those that don’t run the risk of backlash from parents as they become more aware of the influence advertising on Facebook has on their young”.

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