Children's Advertising Review Unit - Advertising to Children

Children’s Advertising Review Unit

The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), 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.

Program Impact

CARU was established in 1974 to support self-regulation in the advertising industry and promote responsible advertising to children. The results of CARU’s work is available to the public.

 

 

Monitoring and Enforcement

CARU monitors child-directed media to ensure that advertising is truthful, accurate, appropriate, and compliant with its self-regulatory guidelines, and that online marketing is compliant with both the CARU guidelines and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”).

Pre-Screening Service

From concept to final cut, CARU’s pre-screening services help businesses and agencies spot and correct problems before ads and promotional websites go live. Take advantage of our one-on-one support as you navigate COPPA and CARU compliance.

COPPA Safe Harbor Services

CARU is the first FTC-approved Safe Harbor Program under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and can help your company achieve its business goals while ensuring compliance with COPPA requirements, other applicable online data privacy laws, and CARU’s guidelines.

CARU Supporters have access to benefits and resources including:

 

Access to CARU experts to answer your questions about advertising and privacy issues directed to children

 

Advertising pre-screening and guidance from expert staff  

 

Invitation to the annual Supporters’ Council Meeting to discuss industry challenges

 

20% discount on Safe Harbor Program services

 

Special rates for CARU conferences and events 

 

 

 

Guidelines & Procedures


CARU leads the development and ongoing management of advertising guidelines for children (defined as individuals age 12 or younger). To help businesses and advertisers, CARU provides education, one-on-one support, and legal guidance on: 

 

  • How to be compliant in the delivery of everything from digital ads to product packaging
  • The art of delivering for an impressionable and vulnerable child audience
  • Children’s privacy, unique to digital content and data collection for children age 12 and under (these guidelines reflect changes in COPPA)
  • How to approach product presentations, appropriate disclosures, sweepstakes and contests, safety, endorsements, and sales pressure

News & Blog

BBB National Programs’ Children’s Advertising Review Unit Urges FTC to “Follow Up Now” on U.S. Senators’ Call for Inquiry into the State of Children’s Privacy

 

Leader of nation’s first COPPA Safe Harbor wants “fast action, but not at expense of COPPA Rule Review”  

 

New York, NY, May 11, 2020 – With widespread recognition that the COVID-19 pandemic has elevated children’s risk online, BBB National Programs’ Vice President Dona Fraser, who leads the non-profit organization’s Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), today issued the following statement in support of a call by a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) conduct an inquiry into the state of children’s privacy in digital advertising and educational technology: 

“The millions of children in quarantine due to the novel coronavirus outbreak are increasingly relying on technology for education and entertainment, and with that greater reliance comes the need for corporate responsibility. Now that this bipartisan group of U.S. Senators has demanded that education technology companies practice such responsibility, the FTC should follow up on that request. 

 

Among the questions that the FTC should pose for ‘ed tech’ companies to answer are: 

  • How are you making your privacy practices known? 
  • What is your data retention policy?   

  • If your company is collecting personally identifiable information from children, are you separating that data from the data collected about adults (or persons 13 or over)? How are those databases secured and who has access? 

  • How are you monitoring what third parties do with the data they touch or collect on your behalf? 

 

There is no doubt that the pandemic has put a spotlight on the ed tech space as never before and the Senators’ letter puts ed tech companies on notice. We encourage fast action by the FTC, but not at the expense of the current COPPA rule review. Specifically, I am concerned that requests for 6(b) orders might slow down or derail the work the FTC has already begun in this review, the results of which are critical to CARU’s role in monitoring companies’ child-directed advertising and data collection practices. My hope is that the Senators’ concerns will be taken into consideration while the rule review presses forward.” 

The FTC generally reviews its rules every ten years to ensure that they have kept up with changes in the marketplace, technology, and business models. The FTC fast-tracked the COPPA rule review due to the advancement of technologies since the last rule review, which was completed in 2012 and went into effect July 1, 2013. The lawmakers’  letter urged the FTC to use its authority to conduct a study and compel ed tech and digital marketing companies to provide information about their data collection and processing practices involving children. The letter was co-signed by Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.). 

 

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About the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU): 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. 

 

About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs is a non-profit that fosters trust, innovation, and competition in the marketplace through the development and delivery of cost-effective, third-party self-regulation, dispute resolution and other programs. BBB National Programs is where businesses turn to enhance consumers’ trust and consumers are heard. BBB National Programs is the home of leading industry self-regulatory and dispute resolution programs designed to resolve business issues and advance shared objectives by responding to marketplace concerns to create a better customer experience. To learn more about industry self-regulation, please visit: BBBNP.org

 

 

Blog

Unpacking Misleading Advertising Claims in the Children’s Space

Advertisements may seem simple on the surface, but certain aspects of the ad business, including advertising law, are complex. The role of monitoring ads directed to children is especially complex. It seems straightforward: advertisers are not allowed to lie in their advertisements, but an advertiser is also responsible for all reasonable interpretations of the claims it makes and not just the messages it intended to convey. This blog outlines how to make sure your advertising passes the truthfulness test.
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Blog

A Beginner's Guide to Reading Privacy Policies

Privacy policies are complicated and can be frustrating to read, especially when you are trying to learn about your child's data privacy online. The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) reviews child-directed online environments to ensure that children’s data is collected and handled responsibly. As a parent, follow these steps to take a proactive role in your child’s data privacy, using privacy policies as your guide to better understand an online service’s data collection practices.
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Blog

“Make Every Bite Count” When Feeding the Youngest Consumers

The recently updated 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) ask us to “make every bite count.” This is an important message in a year when parents have faced challenges on so many fronts, including cooking for their families and eating at home more often than pre-pandemic. For parents feeding very young children, timely guidance in the form of the latest edition of the DGAs arrived at the end of 2020 when, for the first time, they addressed the diets of infants and toddlers.
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Upcoming Events

CARU 2021 Annual Conference

The CARU 2021 Virtual Conference, hosted by BBB National Programs’ Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), convenes child-directed advertising and children’s privacy experts to help you learn how t ...
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Jun 08, 2021 Virtual
 

 

 

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