Raunchy ads invade kids apps

There are some really great apps for kids on your favorite tablet, catering to everything from games to coloring books, and they're becoming more and more popular in educational markets. But, as The Daily points out, there's one problem: Adult advertisements keep popping up next to Barney's smiling face.

Imagine you leave your six year old playing with a nursery rhyme app. A few minutes later, your son asks you, “Papa, what's Scientology?” As bad as that might be (unless you happen to be a Scientologist, of course), it gets worse: Even though Aaron Stein, a Google spokesman, told The Daily that its AdMob service specifically excludes “sexually suggestive text, images or situations, prescription drugs, hate speech, violence, alcohol, tobacco, firearms and gambling," those are the kind of ads that are causing the problem.

Part of the problem might lie with the fact that mobile apps aren't subject to any restrictions on what kind of ads get displayed to young audiences, unlike say, the internet or TV. The other problem supposedly involves the parents. Caroline Knorr, a parenting editor at Common Sense Media, says that “parents don't even realize that apps carry ads.” Alison Bryant, who is the founder of a media and family consulting firm called PlayScience, says that inappropriate ads are “a real problem.”

It's not like there's some kind of conspiracy to target kids with raunchy ads. The advertisers don't reach their target audience, parents get upset, and the app developer loses customers for something he didn't want to happen in the first place. Just ask developer Hien Ton, who was shocked when ads for meeting 'hot women' showed up in his ABC Phonics Sight Words app. “We are parents as well, and will not want our own kids exposed to these ads.”

So what's the solution? Stop using apps? Wait for the government to fix it? Ton suggests that parents should go the extra mile and shell out for the premium version of the apps. Developers can do their part as well, by making sure that advertisements in kids' apps get placed in the proper age category, but this is still a hit and miss approach. 

Anyone who's spent any amount of time browsing the web has probably seen some pretty inappropriate ads in some pretty inappropriate places, even though they're being delivered by otherwise reputable companies. So the most important thing that can happen is probably that the ad servers work a little bit harder to make it easier for developers to control what kind of ads get displayed, and in what context. A little screening goes a long way, and not only are the parents happy, but the advertisers' money is better spent, too.

Image courtesy of Barney Wiki

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Do you bubble wrap your house too people? My nephew (5 years old) plays Angry Birds on my iPad all the time (with supervision). If it breaks, take it into apple care and get a brand new one for free. It's not like he's going to throw it like a frizzby----teach your kids young to respect their possessions early.

If only kids had some kind of adults to care for them and keep them out of trouble, some kind of parents or something. It's a shame we have to let them run wild and do whatever they want.

protocol7 said,
Easy fix. Politicians just have to push a bill to ban advertising on the internets. Then the children will be safe.

You are so FUNNYYYYY

WTH? Who would give their little kids devices like these to play around with in the first place? The same numbnuts who park their crotch dropping in front of a TV for hours a day, I'm guessing. Future cows/sheep to be exploited by corporations.

I could see giving a 10-year-old an tablet. But by that age you should be letting them watch R-rated movies anyway, so these "salacious" ads shouldn't matter.

Benda said,
I could see giving a 10-year-old an tablet. But by that age you should be letting them watch R-rated movies anyway, so these "salacious" ads shouldn't matter

R-rated movies at ten? Seriously? Now I'm not a conservative with a stick up my ass but even still that's a little young. Completely agree with you though on giving kids $500+ devices.

I've always had issues with the way some advertising has been done.
One of the biggiest issues was with MSN Messenger's adverts. The amount of times I saw meet up adverts and such on there from match and what ever else really started to annoy the heck out of me.

It is very clear on my then passport ID that my status was set to married.

Was/is Microsoft promoting promiscuous relationships? And do parents know these types of adverts are shown to their kids as they chat to their friends online.

I've since been blocking adverts via hosts so I can't say I see them anymore to check, but I'd imagin they still go on.

sagum said,
I've always had issues with the way some advertising has been done.
One of the biggiest issues was with MSN Messenger's adverts. The amount of times I saw meet up adverts and such on there from match and what ever else really started to annoy the heck out of me.

It is very clear on my then passport ID that my status was set to married.

Was/is Microsoft promoting promiscuous relationships? And do parents know these types of adverts are shown to their kids as they chat to their friends online.

I've since been blocking adverts via hosts so I can't say I see them anymore to check, but I'd imagin they still go on.

Think that is bad, my profile setting states that I'm gay yet I receive an onslaught of heterosexual related dating sites with males and females lip locking. I swear who ever designs the algorithms used is a complete moron because the ads certainly aren't targeting products at the people who maybe interested in them.

FloatingFatMan said,
Wow.. How the hell much of that screen is given over to the ads anyway!?!?

Just for the record, the image is kind of meant as a parody, although a lot of apps definitely do have problems with placing ads in horrible places.

Memnochxx said,
Hilarious ad from Burger King.

Yup. In fact, it doesn't belong to the ads this article is about - small kids won't understand it (after all, it's a woman amazed by a burger), and kids who understand it won't be shocked in any way.