Keeping kids safe in a mobile world

Jenny Radesky, assistant professor of developmental behavioral pediatrics in Michigan Medicine, is concerned about the lack awareness most children have surrounding online advertising and persuasive content. Radesky said ads are reaching children in new ways, including YouTube, social media, and in-app purchases. These new outreach methods encourage continued media consumption due to design “tricks.” She presented her research at the 2019 American Academy of Pediatrics Annual Conference and Exhibition.

“As children grow up in an increasingly digital environment, it’s even more important than ever that they be critically aware about the messages and persuasive design that is trying to change their mind and behavior—often based on data that’s already been collected about them—and try to resist falling for it,” Radesky said. “Pediatricians can also play a role in advocating for a better policy to protect children’s digital rights and improve equitable access to quality, non-commercial media.”