U.S. CARU Conference Tackles Critical Issues in Advertising to Kids

11 October 2011

The Children’s Advertising and Review Unit’s (CARU) recent conference, “Marketing to Children: Privacy, Food and Digital Media” was held on October 5, 2011 in New York City, to provide updates and information on the children’s advertising industry in the U.S. as well as an overview of the recently proposed changes to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule, which gives parents control over what personal information websites may collect from children under 13.

The conference opened with a panel on the latest developments in the proposed changes to the COPPA Rule and recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforcement actions. Amendments to COPPA were proposed to ensure that the privacy of children online remains protected as technologies evolve, as well as to help with industry compliance.

Changes to the Rule have been proposed in five areas: definitions, including the definitions of “personal information” and “collection”; parental notice; parental consent mechanisms; confidentiality and security of children’s personal information; and the role of self-regulatory “safe harbor” programs. Written industry comments are being accepted now through Nov. 28, 2011.

Other topics discussed throughout the day included: running creative promotions within legal parameters; the issue of blurring editorial and advertising content online and through other multi-media platforms; self-regulation and responsible food marketing to children; and a panel which was comprised of a group of tween and teen boys and girls involved in a non-profit initiative called Teenangels, who spoke about their involvement in the organization and shared their views on multiple issues faced by teens online – from parental consent to cyber bullying.

The conference co-located with the National Advertising Division (NAD) conference (held October 3-4, 2011) at the Ritz Carlton-New York in Battery Park.

CARU is the children's arm of the advertising industry's self-regulation program in the U.S. The organization evaluates child-directed advertising and promotional material in all media to advance truthfulness, accuracy and consistency; its scope includes advertising directed to children under 12 and online privacy and safety directed to children under 13.

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