Navigating the world of kids’ marketing: Best Practice Principles from ICPEN

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As parents know, kids spend a huge amount of time online, especially now with COVID-19 school and camp closures. They get ideas from influencers on social media and video platforms, make purchases on their smartphones, and influence a lot of family spending. This phenomenon is not limited to the U.S. alone. Recent data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development shows that, on average, kids around the world spend at least three hours online outside of school on a typical weekday, and more than three and a half hours on a typical weekend. Businesses have noticed, and are finding new ways to reach kids on their smartphones, tablets, and laptops, sometimes with personalized messages, no matter where they live.

In response, the International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network (ICPEN), a network of consumer protection agencies from over 60 countries, developed Best Practice Principles for Marketing Practices Directed Towards Children Online. If you advertise abroad, or advise clients who do, you might want to check out ICPEN’s best practices so you can understand the range of issues that concern consumer protection agencies and the variety of approaches they use to ensure marketing to children online complies with the laws in their jurisdictions.

The ICPEN Best Practices Principles are high level principles: They arent an enforcement statement or a guide on how to comply with laws in any particular jurisdiction. For tips on complying with the FTC’s truth-in-advertising advertising standards for marketing to kids in the United States, check out this Business Center page and these updated FAQs on complying with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

The FTC is a member of ICPEN, which promotes cross-border cooperation and coordinates the cross-border consumer complaint website, ICPEN developed the best practice principles during the Presidency term of Colombia’s Superintendence of Industry and Commerce. To learn more about ICPEN and its work, please visit


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