BBB National Programs Children’s Advertising Review Unit Begins Monitoring Child-Directed Content for Compliance with Revised Advertising Guidelines

CARU will take action to address non-compliant children’s advertising in popular media

For Immediate Release
Contact: Abby Hills, Director of Communications, BBB National Programs

703.247.9330 / press@bbbnp.org

McLean, VA – January 4, 2022 – BBB National Programs’ Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) begins monitoring child-directed advertising under the revised CARU Advertising Guidelines, widely recognized industry standards to assure that advertising directed to children is not deceptive, unfair, or inappropriate for its intended audience. The revised guidelines were released in July 2021, and went into effect on January 1, 2022. 

CARU monitors child-directed media to ensure compliance with these guidelines, seeking voluntary cooperation of companies and, where necessary, referral for enforcement action to an appropriate federal regulatory body, usually the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), or to state Attorneys General. 

The steady growth in online platforms and new immersive, interactive forms of child-directed media is reflected in the revised Guidelines, which now more specifically address digital and social media, video content, influencer advertising, apps, in-game advertising and purchasing, and other interactive children’s spaces.

FAQs answering questions on how to comply with the CARU Advertising Guidelines will be updated on an ongoing basis as new media trends and challenges arise. As new FAQs about the Guidelines are released, they will be announced in the CARU section of the BBB National Programs website.

CARU also offers advertising pre-screening services to help brands, marketers, agencies, and developers spot and correct problems before child-directed advertisements and promotions go live. 

Read the updated guidelines here. Learn more about CARU here. Consumers and companies can learn how to bring challenges before CARU here. Summaries of all case decisions can be found in the BBB National Programs case decision library. The full legal cases can be accessed with a subscription to the Online Archive

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About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs is where businesses turn to enhance consumer trust and consumers are heard. The non-profit organization creates a fairer playing field for businesses and a better experience for consumers through the development and delivery of effective third-party accountability and dispute resolution programs. Embracing its role as an independent organization since the restructuring of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in June 2019, BBB National Programs today oversees more than a dozen leading national industry self-regulation programs, and continues to evolve its work and grow its impact by providing business guidance and fostering best practices in arenas such as advertising, child-directed marketing, and privacy. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.

About the Children’s Advertising Review Unit: The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), a division of BBB National Programs and the nation’s first Safe Harbor Program under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), helps companies comply with laws and guidelines that protect children from deceptive or inappropriate advertising and ensure that, in an online environment, children's data is collected and handled responsibly. When advertising or data collection practices are misleading, inappropriate, or inconsistent with laws and guidelines, CARU seeks change through the voluntary cooperation of companies and where relevant, enforcement action. 

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