BBB National Programs Archive

CARU: A Parent’s Guide to Advertising

Children’s Advertising Review Unit and Toy Association Collaborate to Produce A Parent’s Guide to Advertising and Your Child

Free Resource Has Been Updated to Include New Information About Online and Mobile Ads

NEW YORK, NY | September 30, 2015 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), an investigative unit of the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus, has collaborated with the Toy Industry Association (now The Toy Association), the not-for-profit trade association representing all businesses involved in creating and delivering toys and youth entertainment products for kids of all ages, to publish a free, updated guide that helps parents talk with their children about advertising. The latest edition of the brochure includes new information about online privacy, apps, and mobile marketing.

A Parent’s Guide to Advertising and Your Child provides parents with tips and strategies for teaching their kids about the principles and purpose of advertising, and how to be alert for different forms of ads and marketing – including those that appear online, on television, in magazines, in apps and on mobile phones, on product packaging, and in the form of product placements. The guide also provides parents with ideas for activities that will help their kids understand how advertisements work, such as forming a “junior ad agency” with their child or analyzing a television commercial that contains exaggerated claims.

“Children are increasingly surrounded by a multimedia world. Much of this media is supported by advertising and marketing,” said Wayne J. Keeley, Director of the Children’s Advertising Review Unit. “Although CARU has adopted strong guidelines for child-directed advertising and marketing, there is no substitute for active and involved parents. This guide is directed to parents with the goal of assisting them in educating their children about the advertising that supports our increasingly ubiquitous media world.”

“The latest edition of the Parent’s Guide includes new tips and information for today’s families, who are exposed to an ever-growing array of both traditional and digital media in their day-to-day lives,” added Steve Pasierb, President & CEO of the Toy Industry Association. “TIA is proud to collaborate with CARU on this important project. We believe that it will be a valuable resource for parents looking to ensure that their children’s media experiences are safe, educational, and fun.”

As a supporter of CARU, TIA is actively involved in marketing to children issues and is an advocate for sound and sensible measures to protect children’s privacy and safety online. TIA members – along with their advertising partners and service providers – are encouraged to follow best practices established by self-regulatory bodies on issues such as children’s online privacy. The toy industry believes that communications created with children in mind should take into account the special vulnerabilities of children and ensure that they are not deceptive, unfair or inappropriate for their intended audience.

About The Toy Association
Founded in 1916, The Toy Association, Inc. is the not-for-profit trade association representing all businesses involved in creating and delivering toys and youth entertainment products for kids of all ages. Over the past 100 years, the Toy Association has led the health and growth of the toy industry, and today its 950+ members account for an estimated 90% of the annual $26 billion U.S. domestic toy market.

About Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU)
The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) was founded in 1974 to promote responsible children’s advertising. As the children’s arm of the advertising industry’s self-regulation program, CARU evaluates child-directed advertising and promotional material in all media to advance truthfulness, accuracy and consistency with CARU’s Self-Regulatory Program for Children’s Advertising. In 1996, CARU added a section to its guidelines that highlights issues, including children’s privacy, that are unique to the Internet and online sites directed at children age 12 and under. These guidelines served as a basis of the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA). CARU monitors children’s websites to promote compliance with COPPA and has established a Safe Harbor Program for participating CARU supporters to help them protect the privacy of children online and meet the requirements of COPPA. CARU recognizes that the special nature and needs of a youthful audience require particular care and diligence on the part of advertisers. Consequently, the organization performs a high level of monitoring, including the scrutinizing of over ten thousand child-directed television commercials, and the review of advertisements in print, radio and online media.