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article imageOp-Ed: Food companies market products to kids via smartphones

By Milton Este     Dec 26, 2012 in Technology
It's not that surprising to see food companies are increasingly advertising to kids through smartphones. Advertisements are already implemented on smartphones, specifically via the Android application market.
However, food companies have only recently discovered the new marketing technique. According to Consumerist, the United States government issued a report detailing the actions of food companies towards marketing to kids. Food companies have spent $1.8 billion marketing to kids in 2009 compared to $2.1 billion in 2006.
Although these figures show that food companies are reducing their advertising spending, it is important to note that this is partially due to the increased lower cost marketing to teenagers and younger children through smartphones.
The question remains just how effective is this approach in terms of getting the message across?
PCMag reports a 2011 survey showing that by the age of 2, 25% of the kids will have used a smartphone. However, at the age of 4, the connection between mobile technology and kids is even higher.
According to The AT&T Mobile Safety study:
1. The average age a child is given their first phone is 12.1; the average age for a child’s first smartphone is 13.8, among those with a phone.
2. 48 percent of children ages 12-14 have ridden in a vehicle with someone who was texting while driving. Among those ages 15-17, the percentage of teens who have ridden with a driver who was texting increases to 64 percent.
3. One in four teens ages 15-17 have received mean or bullying text messages (compared to nearly one in five reported by both 8- to 11- and 12- to 14-year-olds).
4. More than half of teens ages 15-17 know someone who has received a sexual message or picture over their phone (compared to 39 percent among those aged 12-14).
5. 58 percent of parents say that their mobile phone provider offers tools or resources for parents to address issues like overages, safety, security and monitoring. One in seven is not sure whether they have access to these services.
So what does this mean? Your kids will probably text you what they want you to add on your next shopping list, but chances are it won't be the whole wheat instant oatmeal packets.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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