What Is Targeted Advertising And Why Does Biden Want To Ban It For Children?

Joe Biden wants to ban targeted advertising for children. This was requested at the Congress. We tell you the reasons

In his first State of the Union Address, Joe Biden asked Congress to implement new laws to increase child safety on social networks like Tik Tok, Facebook, and Instagram. "It's time to strengthen privacy protections, ban advertising directed at children, require technology companies to stop collecting personal data from our children," said the president of the United States.

Little girl packing products in a supermarket cart

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LatinAmerican Post| Juan Manuel Londoño

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Leer en español: ¿Qué es el targeted adversting y por qué Biden lo quiere prohibir para niños?

In this speech, Biden specifically used the term "targeted advertising" to refer to advertising. Here we explain why his claim to ban this practice could be justified.

The Targeted Advertising.

If you use the Internet, you probably already know what targeted advertising is. Unlike traditional advertising, this type of advertising uses your data to show your ads for things that might be of interest to you. It uses your tastes, interests, and preferences to deliver the ads that most attract your attention, based on your usual behavior on the Internet. For example, if you are a person who loves to exercise, when you visit social networks you will frequently see ads for weights, gym discounts, or sportswear.

So what is the problem? It turns out that children are quite vulnerable to this type of advertising and some companies take advantage of this to generate revenue. Therefore, it can be considered an unethical and harmful practice for infants. Take junk food advertising as an example. In recent years, efforts have been made to reduce this type of television advertising, as it has been shown to increase the chances that children will suffer from health problems such as diabetes and obesity. However, in networks, it is much more difficult to control. A child can see dozens of pop-ups, ads created by influencers, or advertisements disguised as games in a matter of minutes.

Also read: How to avoid disinformation about Ukraine in social networks?

A significant number of these ads also help exacerbate the mental health problems that social networks already generate. Self-image problems, depression, and anxiety are some of the symptoms that the White House has identified with the overuse of these networks. Although these problems cannot be entirely attributed to targeted advertising, it does play a role in their development.

Another problem with this practice is the amount of information that advertisers have access to about children who use social networks. For example, they know their location at all times. White House sources estimate that social media companies have access to 72 million pieces of data on the average child by the time they turn 13 years old.
In the social sphere, targeted advertising is also causing adverse effects on the development of children. A report from the New Economics Foundation says that this advertising “is demonstrably affecting social cohesion for children and adults, helping to enable disinformation, clickbait, and discrimination (…) It makes disinformation websites much more economically viable. then other forms of advertising.

Considering the negative effects that we have just mentioned, the need to take action against these types of advertising is increasingly evident. The question to ask is whether the network giants will be willing to reduce their profits to benefit society.