Andy Burnham, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, has called on marketers to ensure the internet is safe for children. He says the net is “ungovernable” and web designers and advertisers have a responsibility to the public when creating online campaigns.
Speaking at the Internet Advertising Bureau Engage conference, Burnham says the creative industry must act to allay parent’s fears about the content their children view online.
He adds: “Internet advertisers must face up to the challenging and changing world that the internet is rapidly becoming. Children find the internet very comforting and natural. It has fundamentally changed the way we access information. Online advertisers and content publishers must act responsibly to ensure the pages children view are safe and are in the public interest.”
Burnham says that ads on the internet should not follow separate rules to those on TV, especially those aimed at children, and he warns the Advertising Standards Authority is receiving more complaints about online. It is now the second most complained about channel after TV.
Burnham says: “The internet is used everywhere right now in our everyday lives. Advertisers must strike a balance, especially when it comes to ads for food products. Protecting children should be a key concern for advertisers as they launch online campaigns, particularly with recent developments in the targeted ads remit.”
Burnham also pledged that he would ensure that the UK’s advertising industry remained strong in the face of the ongoing recession.