To Your Health
December, 2018 (Vol. 12, Issue 12)
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Children Too Young to See App Ads? It's Still Happening (Constantly)

By Editorial Staff

It all starts innocently enough: You help your child download an app to your tablet or smartphone so they can play a popular game. No language, no sexual connotation, no violence; just a harmless age-appropriate game. After all, your child isn't old enough to have their own tablet or phone yet. And since you've already researched the app beforehand, you know it won't unduly influence your child.

Perhaps the app won't, but the constant ads that flood the app could, and that's exactly what's happening, according to research. In fact, a staggering 95 percent of commonly downloaded apps used by children as young as age 5 feature at least one type of advertising, and often the advertisements aren't appropriate for kids that young.

kid on tablet - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark The study, published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, notes that even educational apps can include advertisements, and the ads can focus on politics, health conditions or other topics not suitable for child to be exposed to without parental supervision. And as you might expect, pop-up ads frequently suggest the user upgrade to the full (paid) version.

The best way to troubleshoot the apps your children use? Download and use them yourself before giving your children access. Once you're sure it's an appropriate app for use, monitor it occasionally to make sure you didn't miss something during your review. And ask your child periodically to show you the app and how they use it.