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Controlling Children's Exposure to Advertising, Mobile Style
By: Slajanna Jean
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Anyone will tell you that being the guardian of any young adult, whether they are your own kids, siblings, or the neighbor's kids you are babysitting down the street, is as high pressured a job as being an anesthesiologist.
 
Let’s be frank; first you must make sure all their basic needs are met; i.e., nourishment, cleanliness, safety, etc. Then you have to make sure the social aspects are in order; education, competence, and etiquette, all the while staying out of the way and out of trouble. 
 
But in comes the smartphone, disrupting the order of things and, in addition, giving most guardians something new to worry about. 
 
According to an article this week in Adweek, a recent Teens and Technology 2013 study conducted by Pew Research Center reported, “One in four teens use a cell phone to get online” (Adweek, 2013). The study shows that 37% of teens between ages 12–17 own a smartphone. 
 
These stats are nothing new, especially due to the enviable rise of smartphone sales each year. Teens now have more direct access to online content and have more information instantly at the tip of their fingers than any previous generation. And if there is one basic principle of any good advertiser, it’s this — go where the business is. In general, individuals are exposed to hundreds of ads each day and now with mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops, ad placements are carefully considered, artfully placed, and some may even say more personalized, for their target audience.
 
This begs the question: should parents be more concerned for their teen’s perpetual exposure to mobile advertisements? Should parents be able to do surveillance on the ads their teens come in contact with each day?
 
Teenagers are impulsive and impressionable. Now before any of you say, “Well, not my teen,” I will give them credit for being the most informed generation as products of the digital age; however, because of the infancy of this era, they are perhaps the most susceptible to advertising messages that work in their favor, as well as against it.  
 
But as one of the best phrases coined in the digital age states — there’s an app for that.
 
Ad Control is a free app that allows parents to opt out of targeted advertising on their teen’s mobile device. This app, which was released for Apple earlier this month with an Android version due out this later this month, comes weeks shy of the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) announcing new mobile advertising standards. The standards are a response to pressures from the Federal Trade Commission for the DAA to provide consumers with the choice to opt out of mobile ads.


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About the Author
Slajanna Jean is 23-year old freelance copywriter.  She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York with her family. 
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