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Children and (Online) Advertising. Forms of Internet Advertising, Cross-Media Marketing Strategies and Their Reception by Children

Children and (Online) Advertising. Forms of Internet Advertising, Cross-Media Marketing Strategies and Their Reception by Children

Children are beginning to use and explore the Internet at younger and younger ages. As their surfing range and their online activities expand, they automatically come into contact with online advertising and other commercial contents. In this situation, it is not yet clear to what extent and from what age they are in a position to recognise advertising as what it is and to differentiate it from non-advertising contents, or respectively, to identify persuasive messages. From a legal and media pedagogic perspective, there has not been, by and large, much research on the questions as to how far the reception of commercial communication, in a situation where any capacity to deal with advertising only develops gradually, can affect the development of children’s personalities, and what is demanded of primary school children in order for them to interpret and assess commercial online contents. In the context of the project, these and other questions were comprehensively investigated from an interdisciplinary perspective. On the basis of the empirical findings, media pedagogical recommendations for action, suggestions for legal regulation, as well as practice-oriented recommendations for providers were formulated for the topic area of children and online advertising.

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Project Description

The complexity of the topic along with the different research questions require an interdisciplinary approach. The project comprised the following interconnected research modules overall:
  • The analysis of 100 selected favourite internet sites of primary school children as regards forms of advertising and other commercial communications they display, their embedding in the contents as well as indications of demarcation from non-advertorial contents. Both, Internet sites especially for children and material not directed towards children yet used by them for preference were considered.
  • Expert legal opinion on the topic of children and online advertising, consisting of a survey of the legal and administrative regulatory frameworks, the criteria of juridical classification of the risks found through the analysis of the material as well as the identification of possible regulatory loopholes and potential risks.
  • A study of the reception of advertising, consisting of several sub-studies. The focus lies on the investigation (both partially standardised and representative) of the reception of advertising by children aged six to eleven. Framework data on socialisation and education relating to advertising were obtained by means of standardised questionnaires for parents.
Lastly, we provided different stakeholder groups with recommendations for action based on the empirical evidence. The findings as well as the recommendation for actions are documented in detail in Dreyer/Lampert/Schulze (2014).

Duration of the project: 1/2013 to 7/2014

Project Information


Duration: 2013-2014

Research programme:
RP3 - Knowledge for the Media Society

Cooperation Partner

Contact person

Dr. Claudia Lampert
Senior Researcher Media Socialisation & Health Communication

Dr. Claudia Lampert

Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung | Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI)
Rothenbaumchaussee 36
20148 Hamburg

Tel. +49 (0)40 45 02 17 - 92
Fax +49 (0)40 45 02 17 - 77

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