CARU GUIDELINES EYE WEB EFFORTS TO REACH CHILDREN: DATA COLLECTION, PRIVACY ISSUES SPARK ATTENTION TO MARKETER USE OF NEW MEDIA

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The Children's Advertising Review Unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in the next month is expected to unveil guidelines to govern data collection from children at marketer Web sites and how that information can be used.

Details were not disclosed, but CARU said the standards would likely force some changes in Web sites aimed at children.

"There will be changes necessary, but I'm saying that from the law of averages, not from knowledge of site X," said Julie Halpen, general manager of Saatchi & Saatchi Kids Connection, a member of the CARU advisory board.

NEED TO LOOK AT WEB

Elizabeth Lascoutx, director of CARU, said the standards project reflects the feeling among CARU advisory board members that the agency needed to quickly look at the Web.

"There was a feeling we couldn't talk about advertising to children without talking about new media," said Ms. Lascoutx, noting that CARU had conducted similar updates of its code when 900-phone numbers were created.

The new guidelines for Web sites "will help people decide how to move forward," said Elizabeth Borrelli, director of standards and regulatory affairs for the Toy Manufacturers of America whose president sits on the advisory board.

The revision for the first time will also offer an industry venue for resolving complaints about marketers' Web sites as pressure grows in Washington for government regulation.

FTC STUDIES INTERNET

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission called for a new workshop to further explore privacy concerns involving marketing and the Internet. A first workshop had been held last June.

"The purpose of this workshop," the FTC said in a staff report, "would be to educate the commission about changes in the collection and use of personal information online since the last workshop, including technological advances and self-regulatory efforts."

Marketers' Web sites aimed at children have already drawn sharp criticism. A report last year from the Center for Media Education charged marketers were gathering household information from children without parents' permission, were using cartoon characters to sell to young children, and were mixing up advertising and editorial content in their Web sites in ways making it difficult for a child to distinguish between the two.

WHITE HOUSE CONCERN

The White House, too, has indicated interest. A draft of the Framework for Global Electronic Commerce, put on the Internet as part of an interagency task force (http://www.iitf.nist.gov/eleccomm/

glo_comm.htm), notes that privacy concerns are an important element of any Internet policy.

CARU is a unit of the National Advertising Review Council, which is co-sponsored by the Council of Better Business Bureaus, American Advertising Federation, American Association of Advertising Agencies and Association of National

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