How At-Risk Are Children of Online Gambling Ads?

Content marketing on social media is becoming a way advertisers reach children online, posing risks for children who are engaged in online activities.  

So, how does content marketing work exactly? By posting online ads that stimulate interest in a brand, companies do not explicitly mention the product or service they’re trying to sell. Instead, the ad uses jokes, insider content, or inspirational messaging to make the target audience feel good, excited, or curious enough to click on it. 

Sometimes, those advertisements can be for child-appropriate things, such as toys, books, or other educational resources. Other times, they promote adult activities like gambling. 

In a recent study, more than 888,000 Twitter gambling ads for the public were reviewed and found that 40% were from content marketing. This is concerning for youth who are active in social media, as children have a brain that is still rapidly developing. And as a result, their brain might not process the ad effectively and end up clicking on an ad that takes them to an online gambling site or product. According to the Center for Cyber Safety, 4% of children have visited gambling websites.

Although there isn’t a switch that can automatically turn off content marketing, there are a few ways you can help to keep your child’s activities safe online.

  • Set parental controls. There are many ways to change accessibility settings and implement parental controls for online games, apps, social media sites, and electronic devices. See Before You Bet’s recent blog post on digital health for more information on how to do this.
  • Discuss online safety. Once you determine an appropriate age your child is allowed to be online, discuss internet safety with those over the established age limit, and develop an internet safety plan. Together, you can set clear guidelines, teach children to spot red flags like content marketing, and encourage open communication.
  • Monitor your browser’s history. Review your child’s web history regularly so you can review what sites they’re visiting and stop potentially risky behavior before it starts.
  • Check out Change The Game Ohio. For additional resources and discussion guides on how to have a conversation with the child in your life about gaming visit ChangeTheGameOhio.org.


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