It's Oct. 3, 2023, Do You Know Where Your Children Are?

Planning and targeting young children -- especially via digital -- has always been a dicey proposition for advertisers and agencies given rapidly-changing technology, as well as laws, regulations and social mores governing it. But the recent acceleration of new forms of digital media -- including new iterations of warm and fuzzy generative AI chatbots, as well as the near-future evolution of the "metaverse" could raise new hackles, not to mention liabilities.

To help advertisers and agencies mitigate new risks, while still developing strategies to test and develop new forms of digital advertising and marketing experiences aimed at young children, the Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of the BBB National Programs this morning released a set of new "guardrails" for targeting kids in the metaverse.



The aptly-named "Building Guardrails for Child-Directed Advertising & Privacy in the Metaverse," can be downloaded here, and it's a good start to begin rethinking your planning and targeting strategies, and develop new internal policies for utilizing a rapidly-emerging media experience that so far hasn't had explicit guidelines, other than increasingly dated Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) laws.

“Tens of millions of children under age 13 are active in immersive, virtual environments and game spaces, and while children can benefit from such hands-on experiences, they are also subject to unique potential risks and harms,” says CARU Director Rukiya Bonner, adding, "The Metaverse guardrails do not intend to resolve or respond to all the complex scenarios within the metaverse, but instead focus on providing companies with a thorough understanding of the current advertising and privacy regulatory landscape and best practices for the application of those regulations to certain scenarios in this emerging marketplace.”

The guardrails cover three key areas recommended for marketer/agency self-regulation. I recommend you review and internalize them ASAP:

  • Develop metaverse experiences directed to children.
  • Comply with existing advertising and privacy law.
  • Engage responsibly with children online. 


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