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New Education Resource Helps Young People Get Smart With Online Ads

Media Smart


A brand new resource designed to help young people understand the world of online advertising, and how they can get the best experience from it, has been launched by UK advertising’s non-profit education programme, Media Smart (@MediaSmartUK), in collaboration with the European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance (@EDAATweets) – the European advertising industry coalition, whose key aim is to empower consumers with information and control over their online advertising experience, and to offer companies the tools they need to be open, transparent and responsible.

The new resource, ‘How to manage your online advert experience’, features a three-minute animated film which can be viewed here, as well as classroom resources, to support pupil discussions around what is interest-based advertising, why it exists and how can young people best manage it. It also aims to explain how this advertising funds many of the platforms that young people use every day, from apps and websites, to search engines. The new resource also aims to help young people understand how to manage the advertising they see through introducing them to the ‘AdChoices Icon’, and how they can click on the logo to learn more – and to manage the adverts that are served – through tools including the EDAA’s website.

Rachel Barber-Mack, Director, Media Smart, commented:

“We are really excited about the launch of this new film-based resource educating young people on how to manage the adverts they see online. The animation is a fun and innovative way to teach, I’ve learnt an awful lot about the subject myself in creating these materials and would urge everyone to watch the film regardless of what age they are.”

Angela Mills Wade, EDAA Chair & EPC Executive Director, commented:

“We are very enthusiastic about this new educational resource providing a visual and accessible way for young consumers to learn more about how advertising works online and the role it plays in the economy.  The launch in the UK today is a direct response to in-depth research conducted by EDAA on European consumer attitudes towards digital advertising since GDPR. EDAA is committed to consumer education across all ages, as it is fundamental to building trust, understanding and public interaction towards a vital economic driver in the UK, Europe and globally.”

Dan Clays, Chair, Media Smart, commented:

“Media Smart has a vital role to play in encouraging media literacy among our children and young people and this new resource is an excellent way of helping them understand how online advertising works and how they can make it work most effectively for them.”

The resource also includes a number of classroom activities, games and quizzes to raise awareness of these issues and support the wider PSHE curriculum with media literacy and digital resilience. It builds on the PSHE programme of study on how data can be used to influence decisions, including tailored advertising and other forms of personalisation online.

A recent report from the Advertising Association showed that UK online advertising expenditure, relative to the size of the economy, is now the highest in the world and that online advertising contributed 57% of the UK’s total advertising spend of £23.6 billion in 2018. The UK retail e-commerce expenditure per capita is also higher than in any other G20 market. With this in mind, Media Smart’s new resource has been produced to support young people as they grow up in a world with online advertising. 

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