Web Advergames Shouldn't Push Junk Food on Kids, Says CSPI

Statement of CSPI Nutrition Policy Director Margo G. Wootan

July 19, 2006

Think of it--how many parents really want online strangers enticing their kids to do anything? Yet many of America's biggest food companies and fast-food restaurants are using the Internet to troll for young customers, and peddle high-calorie, low-nutrient, obesity-inducing junk food to them, often without parents' knowledge or consent. How do they get away with that?

Every parent concerned about their kids' health and their online habits should become aware of the findings in the Kaiser Family Foundation's important new report, Child's Play: Advergaming and the Online Marketing of Food to Children. While Kaiser didn't research the nutritional quality of the foods offered to kids online, we calculated from their study that 90 percent of the foods marketed to kids on food company websites are fast foods, sugary cereals, candy, soda, cookies, and other nutritionally poor foods. Marketing disease-promoting foods to kids is corporate irresponsiblity no matter what the medium. But doing it online, via kid-friendly web games, seems particularly predatory.

We hope that Congress and the Federal Trade Commission give these unfair practices the scrutiny they deserve.


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