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’ Dona Fraser Reacts to App Developer HyperBeard, Inc.’s Settlement with FTC Regarding Allegations It Illegally Collected Kids’ Data without Parental Consent

Arlington, VA, June 5, 2020 – Dona Fraser, Vice President of BBB National Programs’ Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) today issued the following statement:

“Yesterday’s announcement by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding HyperBeard, Inc.’s alleged violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule (COPPA Rule) demonstrates that when companies choose not to follow self-regulatory principles and procedures, they open the door to significant consequences with a regulatory agency such as the FTC. 

Certainly, when companies find themselves caught in the crosshairs of an investigation by one of BBB National Programs’ self-regulation programs, as HyperBeard did in March 2019, it is not our desire to be punitive in nature, but instead to help them align their practices with established standards for the benefit of their stakeholders. 

Our mission at BBB National Programs is to help such companies adopt best practices to enhance consumer trust. We find that companies respect and participate in the self-regulatory process because they understand that the U.S. economy is built on a fair and transparent marketplace. Our monitoring and enforcement actions within the mobile app environment are a key part of maintaining a level playing field for all businesses, upholding established best practices for data privacy, and ensuring a trustworthy environment for consumers, especially children.  

We are thankful to the FTC for its continued collaboration across CARU, the Digital Advertising Accountability Program (DAAP) and all BBB National Programs’ self-regulatory and dispute resolution efforts.”  

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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.  

About the Digital Advertising Accountability Program: The Digital Advertising Accountability Program (DAAP), a division of BBB National Programs, was developed by the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) to enforce industry self-regulation principles for data privacy in online and mobile advertising, holding companies accountable to the DAA’s Privacy Principles. DAAP provides guidance to companies looking to comply with industry principles and responds to complaints filed by consumers about online privacy. 

About BBB National Programs:  BBB National Programs is where businesses turn to enhance consumer trust and consumers are heard. This independent, non-profit organization enhances trust, innovation, and competition in the marketplace through the development and delivery of cost-effective, third-party self-regulation, dispute resolution, and accountability programs. BBB National Programs’ 10 leading industry self-regulation and dispute resolution programs resolve business issues of national and international importance, and fosters industry best practices in truth-in-advertising, child-directed marketing, data privacy, and dispute resolution. To learn more about industry self-regulation, visit bbbprograms.org. 

Blog

CARU’s Year in Review: Defining Kidvertising and Tackling Hot Topics Head On

During an uncertain year, the team at the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) stayed busy. Through casework, online conferences, an evolving technology landscape, updates to policy and guidelines, and new thought leadership, our efforts furthered our mission to help companies comply with the laws and guidelines that protect children and their personal data.
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Blog

Navigating In-App Advertising in Children’s Apps

While the FCC regulates children’s cable television and allows for only 10.5-12 minutes of advertising to be shown per hour, there is no comparable guidance to regulate the volume or frequency of ads in digital advertising. Most mobile device users have grown accustomed to dealing with the ubiquitous presence of ads in apps. However, there are a few ad practices that can become problematic when used in children’s apps. Read on to see what our experts had to say.
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Blog

CARU's Tips for Parents: Safe and Efficient Holiday Shopping

2020 has been a year unlike any other. In a time of great uncertainty, facing the holidays can feel be daunting. When it comes to holiday shopping, it is safe to say that many of us will be primarily shopping online this year. To help ensure your online holiday shopping experience is safe and efficient this holiday season, the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) team has put together some tips and red flags to consider when making those all-important gift selections.
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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 ...
Learn more
Jun 08, 2021 Virtual
 

 

 

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