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BizReport : Research archives : September 16, 2010

Report: Kids are online savvy, not ad savvy

Ask anyone with kids and you'll probably hear, 'My kid knows more about web surfing than I do.' While has been proven true by research, it turns out that kids aren't quite as web-savvy as their parents believe. Turns out, according to a recent Nielsen Norman Group report that while kids understand how to surf and navigate the Internet, they don't necessarily understand advertising.

by Kristina Knight

The study, which analyzed how children between ages 3 and 12 interact with the Internet, found that kids do definitely know surfing basics. In the 7 to 12 age range, researchers found that kids know how to navigate and surf nearly as well as their adult counterparts. Between ages 3 and 6, however, kids are still likely to be tripped up by many things online.

The big problem for children is recognizing the difference between advertising copy and editorial copy, according to the researchers. They noted that younger children, especially, had trouble denoting ads, even ads which were 'clearly marked' as advertising copy. This will likely become even more difficult as advertisers steer away from hard-call ads to more conversational ad copy and information about products and services.

To counteract the effect and to let kids in on the 'advertising secret', the report suggests that ads on sites frequented by children have very clearly noted advertising. One suggestion was to go so far as to announce, 'This is an advertisement,' at the beginning of video ads; they also suggest not including phrases like 'Play Now' on children's sites as kids may not realize that by pushing a click-to-play button they will be taken away from the kid-safe site and onto sites not really geared toward their age group.

For more details on how to make a website kid-friendly, try this report.

Tags: ages 3-12, children, demographics, Nielsen Norman Group, online advertising, online content, online surfing

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