Advertising through social media

Marketing and advertising directed towards children and youth is not a new phenomenon but increasing attention from parents, regulators, business and civil society around ethical debates have recently taken flight. Many children regularly have unsupervised access to numerous forms of media, particularly online. Advertising is everywhere: on TV, radio, the internet, and now more than ever, on our social media networks. There are growing concerns about the effects of this marketing on children's physical and mental health as well as on behavior and self-esteem.

Marketing and advertising to children often gets a bad reputation. But, does it have to?

You will find below a selection of quotes from youth across the world.

Herman, 23, Kenya

"Of course it should. Why not? If it is meant for the children, then they should know it exists. By exposing children and youth to the world of advertising, you are ensuring that they learn the skill of choice. However, regulation should be highly advocated for. Children are very vulnerable, as much as you are giving them the power of choice, ensure that the market does not abuse this."

Mel, 22, South Africa

"No, they aren't experienced enough to form good judgement or views that are not biased...Younger and even older kids are easily influenced. We can advise them better, but not dictate."

Živilė, Lithuania, 17

"I think it shouldn't be banned first of all because it's simply impossible in the 21st century when media is very powerful. Also children have to learn to think about what's wrong and what's right."

Hewane, Ethopian living in Morocco, 23

"Of course! We live in a world where advertising is ubiquitous in everyday life. In fact social media is the best way to expose youth to products meant for them because it's the space where they are connected."

Fatoumata, Guinean living in Morocco, 23

"I don't see a problem with products being advertised through social media. The only types of ads that should be prohibited are those of a sexual nature or which are questionable morally. They could affect the psychological well-being of children. Social media is the main means of communication today."

Patrick, Uganda, 21

Girl on phone with social media chalkboard
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