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Event Description

On October 19, 2022, the Federal Trade Commission will host a virtual event on “Protecting Kids from Stealth Advertising in Digital Media.” The FTC will bring together researchers, child development and legal experts, consumer advocates, and industry professionals to examine the techniques being used to advertise to children online – in all the various digital spaces children frequent – and what measures should be implemented to protect children from manipulative advertising. Specific topics include:

  • Children’s capacity at different ages and developmental stages to recognize and understand advertising content and distinguish it from other content;
  • The harms to children resulting from the inability of children to recognize advertising;
  • What measures should be taken to protect children from blurred content in digital marketing; and
  • The need for and efficacy of disclosures as a solution for children of different ages, including the format, timing, placement, wording, and frequency of disclosures.

The event will be held virtually and webcast on the FTC’s website at FTC.gov. A link to the webcast, as well as the agenda and speaker information, will be posted in advance of the event. Registration is not required.

In conjunction with this event, the FTC is seeking additional public comment on how children are affected by digital advertising and marketing messages that may blur the line between ads and entertainment. The public will have until November 18, 2022 to submit comments to accommodate those who wish to provide input on the topics discussed at the event. Information on how to submit comments can be found on Regulations.gov.

  • Agenda

    All times listed below are Eastern Time

    9:00 am

    Welcome and Opening Remarks


    Lina M. Khan 
    Chair, Federal Trade Commission 
    9:15 am

    Presentation: Children’s Advertising Show and Tell 

    This presentation will set the scene for the event by discussing the range of digital spaces children, including teens, frequent and the types of advertising and marketing techniques used to advertise to them. The presenter will provide visual examples of ads children encounter in digital media, such as kid influencer videos and in-game ads. The presenter also will discuss the current legal and self-regulatory landscape in this space. Afterward, the presenter will answer questions from the moderator. 

    Presenter: 
    Mamie Kresses 
    Vice President, Children’s Advertising Review Unit, BBB National Programs 

    Moderator: 
    Tawana Davis 
    Assistant Director, Division of Advertising Practices, Federal Trade Commission 

    10:00 am

    Panel 1: Children’s Cognitive Abilities – What do they know and when?

    This panel will discuss children’s cognitive abilities at different ages and developmental stages to recognize and understand advertising content and to distinguish it from other content. Panelists will discuss relevant research, as well as any impacts or potential remedies. 

    Moderator: 
    Elizabeth Nach 
    Attorney, Division of Advertising Practices, Federal Trade Commission
     
    Panelists: 
    Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn 

    Director, Games and Virtual Environments Lab 
    Associate Professor, Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communication, University of Georgia 

    Liselot Hudders 
    Associate Professor, Ghent University 

    Sonia Livingstone 
    Professor of Social Psychology, London School of Economics 

    Jenny Radesky 
    Division Director, Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics 
    Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Michigan Medical School 

    Eva A. van Reijmersdal 
    Associate Professor of Persuasive Communication, 
    Amsterdam School of Communication Research ASCoR, University of Amsterdam

     

    11:15 am

    Break

    12:30 pm

    Panel 2: The Current Advertising Landscape and its Impact on Kids

    This panel will discuss the impacts on children of the current advertising landscape, including any harms stemming from children’s inability to distinguish advertising from other content. Panelists will discuss factors at different ages and developmental stages that could mitigate potential harms. The panel will set the stage for the following panel by exploring how best to address any harms.

    Moderator: 
    Michelle Rosenthal 
    Attorney, Division of Advertising Practices, Federal Trade Commission 

    Panelists: 
    James C. Cooper 
    Professor of Law and Director, Program on Economics & Privacy, 
    Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University 

    Josh Golin 
    Executive Director, Fairplay 

    Jennifer L. Harris 
    Senior Research Advisor, UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy & Health 

    Girard Kelly 
    Senior Counsel & Director, Privacy Program, Common Sense Media 

    Sheila A. Millar 
    Partner, Keller and Heckman LLP 

    1:45 pm

    Break

    2:00 pm

    Panel 3: Looking Forward and Considering Solutions

    This panel will discuss the current legal regime and challenges, and potential regulatory, self-regulatory, educational, and technological tools to protect children from blurred content in digital marketing and to mitigate any harmful effects of advertising on children.

    Moderator: 
    Michael Ostheimer 
    Attorney, Division of Advertising Practices, Federal Trade Commission 

    Panelists: 
    Josh Blumenfeld 
    Manager, Government Affairs and Public Policy, YouTube 

    Nellie Gregorian 
    President, Fluent Research 

    Genevieve Lakier 
    Professor of Law and Herbert and Marjorie Fried Teaching Scholar, 
    University of Chicago Law School 

    Bonnie Patten 
    Executive Director, Truth in Advertising 

    Sneha Revanur 
    Founder & President, Encode Justice 

    Lartease M. Tiffith 
    Executive Vice President, Public Policy, Interactive Advertising Bureau 

    3:45 pm

    Closing Remarks 

    Serena Viswanathan 
    Associate Director, Division of Advertising Practices, Federal Trade Commission

  • Event Speaker

    Presentation: Children’s Advertising Show and Tell

    Mamie Kresses is VP of the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of BBB National Programs. She oversees CARU’s ongoing efforts to help companies of all sizes ensure their advertising and data collection practices regarding children comply with existing laws and guidelines. She also leads CARU’s COPPA Safe Harbor program and the organization’s independent monitoring and enforcement actions to address advertising and privacy practices that do not meet CARU’s advertising and privacy guidelines or that violate COPPA. Before joining CARU, she was a senior attorney in the Federal Trade Commission’s Division of Advertising Practices and was a recipient of the FTC’s Robert Pitofsky Lifetime Achievement Award.
     

    Panel 1: Children’s Cognitive Abilities – What do they know, when?

    Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn (Ph.D., Stanford University) is an Associate Professor at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at University of Georgia. She is the founding director of the Games and Virtual Environments Lab (https://www.ugavr.com) and the co‐editor‐in‐chief of Media Psychology. Her main program of research investigates how immersive technologies such as virtual and augmented reality transform traditional rules of communication and social interactions, looking at how virtual experiences shape the way that people think, feel, and behave in the physical world. She has received funding from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Her work is published in numerous outlets in the fields of communication, health, and engineering.

    Liselot Hudders, PhD is Associate Professor in marketing communication at Ghent University, Belgium, and director of the Center for Persuasive Communication. Her research focuses on how children are affected by digital marketing and the role of advertising literacy. She’s an expert on influencer marketing and studies the impact of kidfluencing activities for children. In 2022, she launched Magditonline.be to inform influencer parents about the risks involved with their sharenting behaviors. She published her research in the advertising and communication journals and her work has been awarded various prizes. She is a board member of the European Advertising Academy and associate editor of International Journal of Advertising and Journal of Interactive Advertising.

    Sonia Livingstone, FBA, OBE is a Professor of Social Psychology at the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She has published 20 books including “Parenting for a Digital Future: How hopes and fears about technology shape children’s lives.” She directs the “Digital Futures Commission” (with 5Rights Foundation) and “Global Kids Online” Protecting Kids from Stealth Advertising in Digital Media (with UNICEF). She works on European Commission and UKRI funded projects about children’s opportunities, risks and rights in a digital world. Since founding the 33 country EU Kids Online network, Sonia has advised the UK government, European Commission, European Parliament, UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Council of Europe, OECD, ITU and UNICEF.

    Jenny Radesky, MD is Division Director of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Michigan Medical School. Her NIH‐funded research focuses on the use of mobile/interactive technology by parents and young children and how this relates to child self‐regulation and parent‐child interaction. She was the lead author of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) policy statements Media and Young Minds and Digital Advertising to Children, and now co‐directs the AAP’s SAMHSA‐funded Center of Excellence on Social Media and Mental Health.

    Eva A. van Reijmersdal, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Her research focuses on the effects of sponsored content and influencer marketing on adults and children. She also studies how children and adults can be informed about these forms of advertising by means of disclosures. As an expert on influencer marketing and disclosures she regularly appears in (inter)national media.


    Panel 2: The Current Advertising Landscape and its Impact on Kids

    James C. Cooper is a Professor of Law and Director of the Program on Economics & Privacy at George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School. He has served in various senior positions at the Federal Trade Commission, including Deputy and Acting Director of the Office of Policy Planning, Deputy Director for Economic Analysis in the Bureau of Consumer Protection, and Advisor to Commissioner William E. Kovacic. His research focuses on the law and economics of privacy, data security, consumer protection, and competition policy, and has appeared in academic journals, such as the Journal of Law & Economics, Journal of Regulatory Economics, and the Antitrust Law Journal.

    Josh Golin is Executive Director of Fairplay, an independent watchdog of the children’s media and marketing industries. Fairplay organizes campaigns against corporations that target children with harmful marketing, advocates for policies that limit marketers’ access to young people, and helps parents and professionals reduce the amount of time kids spend with ad‐supported media. Currently, Fairplay leads the Designed with Kids in Mind, a coalition demanding regulations that require Big Tech platforms to prioritize the wellbeing of young people. Josh regularly speaks to parents, professionals, policymakers and journalists about how to create a healthier media environment for children.

    Jennifer L. Harris, PhD, MBA is a Senior Research Advisor at the UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy & Health, research consultant, and an international expert on the extent and health impact of food‐related marketing. Her current research examines emerging issues in food marketing to youth and their parents, including targeted marketing to Black and Hispanic youth, digital marketing targeting adolescents, and baby and toddler food marketing. She received her M.B.A. in Marketing from The Wharton School. She was a consumer marketing executive for eighteen years before completing her PhD in Social Psychology at Yale University and establishing the Rudd Center research group to study food marketing to children in 2008.

    Girard Kelly is Senior Counsel & Director of the Privacy Program at Common Sense Media. He is an attorney focused on privacy, security, and legislative policy, with a background in public policy, Protecting Kids from Stealth Advertising in Digital Media information technology, data ethics, and emerging technologies. Girard received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Management Information Systems from the University of Arizona, a Master of Arts degree in Applied Ethics of Science and Technology Policy from Arizona State University, and a Juris Doctor degree from Santa Clara University School of Law.

    Sheila A. Millar is a Partner with Keller and Heckman, LLP, and has experience in privacy, advertising and consumer product safety issues. She has actively supported advertising and privacy codes, and served as one of the Vice Chairs of the International Chamber of Commerce Marketing and Advertising Commission from 2010 to 2022. She has participated in prior Federal Trade Commission workshops on children’s privacy, self‐regulation, and environmental marketing claims.


    Panel 3: Looking Forward and Considering Solutions

    Josh Blumenfeld is a member of YouTube's Government Affairs and Public Policy team at Google, where he works to advance a free and open internet in the US and around the world. Previously, he worked in global health as the Managing Director and Chief Legal Officer of Malaria No More. Josh also served in the Obama Administration, as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State to Secretary Clinton, and in the Senate, as Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to Chris Dodd. He holds a JD from Georgetown Law, an MA from the London School of Economics, and a BA in History and Political Science from the University of Rochester. Josh is also a Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania.

    Nellie Gregorian is the founder and president of Fluent Research – a data and insights‐driven strategic consulting firm specializing in media, technology, and education. Nellie has conducted numerous studies evaluating the impact of digital technology on children’s and teens’ wellbeing and mental health. She is a published author, an award‐winning documentary producer, and a frequent speaker at academic, public sector, and marketing conferences.

    Genevieve Lakier is a Professor of Law and the Herbert and Marjorie Fried Teaching Scholar at the University of Chicago Law School where she teaches and writes about freedom of speech and American constitutional law. Her work examines the changing meaning of freedom of speech in the United States, the role that legislatures play in safeguarding free speech values, and the fight over freedom of speech on the social media platforms. She has an AB from Princeton University, a JD from New York University School of Law, and an MA and PhD in anthropology from the University of Chicago. Between 2006 and 2008, she was an Academy Scholar at the Weatherhead Center for International and Area Studies at Harvard University. After law school, she clerked for Judge Leonard B. Sand of the Southern District of New York and Judge Martha C. Daughtrey of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

    Bonnie Patten is Executive Director of Truth in Advertising (TINA.org), a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization focused on protecting consumers from false and deceptive marketing. Since its inception, TINA.org has filed more than 300 legal actions, and state and federal agencies have obtained more than $250 million from wrongdoers based on TINA.org’s legal work. She has testified before Congress on issues related to consumer protection, deceptive marketing and economic justice, and she is a regular commentator on marketing and advertising issues in the media. She is the 2019 recipient of the Florence Kelley Consumer Leadership Award from the National Consumers League. She earned her J.D. from Boston University and her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.

    Sneha Revanur is a young leader committed to asking critical, big‐picture questions about the future of innovation. In July 2020, she founded Encode Justice, an international, youth‐powered organization building a movement for human‐centered artificial intelligence. Encode Justice now spans over 500 high school and college students across more than 40 U.S. states and 25 countries. Sneha is committed to reimagining her generation's relationship with technology. She has had the honor of engaging with stakeholders and audiences at the U.S. Department of Education, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Museum of Science, NASA Ames, the United Nations, and the University of Cambridge.

    Lartease M. Tiffith, Esq. is the Executive Vice President for Public Policy at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). He leads IAB’s public policy team, which is responsible for advocating on behalf of IAB’s more than 700 member companies on complex issues, including consumer privacy, data security, global trade, and international data transfer rules. Lartease also leads IAB’s Public Policy Council, the marketing and media industry’s largest legislative and regulatory advisory group, with senior executives from more than 200 companies. Lartease joined IAB from Amazon, where he led the company’s public policy work around advertising, privacy, security, data governance, cross‐border data flows, and consumer protection issues.

FTC Privacy Policy

Under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) or other laws, we may be required to disclose to outside organizations the information you provide when you pre-register. The Commission will consider all timely and responsive public comments, whether filed in paper or electronic form, and as a matter of discretion, we make every effort to remove home contact information for individuals from the public comments before posting them on the FTC website.

The FTC Act and other laws we administer permit the collection of your pre-registration contact information and the comments you file to consider and use in this proceeding as appropriate. For additional information, including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, see the Commission’s comprehensive Privacy Policy.

This event is open to the public and may be photographed, videotaped, webcast, or otherwise recorded. By participating in this event, you are agreeing that your image — and anything you say or submit — may be posted indefinitely at ftc.gov or on one of the Commission's publicly available social media sites.