Home > Uncategorized > Technology, Advertising and Seventh-Graders…

Technology, Advertising and Seventh-Graders…

In the months we’ve been studying the fundamentals of Interactive and e-Communication, a number of articles have caught my eye not because they are focused on a particular online marketing function directly, but because they raise topics with broader implications for how we use interactive tools to market to certain target audiences. None of those audiences is more fraught with ethical questions than school-age children, who are increasingly using technology both inside and outside the classroom.

A few weeks back, the Providence Journal ran a story focused on how seventh-grade students at the Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts in South Providence are using iPads as an integral part of their classroom experience. The kids rave about the devices, as you might expect, and point out the benefits of being able to connect to the net and dig for answers in real time rather than relying on outdated encyclopedias or other more traditional media.

The Trinity Academy is hardly alone and as more and more schools integrate technology – whether on electronic tablets, laptop computers or other devices – it’s interesting to consider how advertisements might be targeted to the young student demographic and what ethical questions will such possibilities raise.

Even without new technology, questions centered on the ethics of advertising in schools are being debated. While schools are often considered sacred territories in which students should be spared the media onslaught present everywhere else, there are some logical arguments that support marketing in schools. Check out this piece in Time Magazine, which points out that revenue from advertising can be used to offset education costs and in some cases, actually preserve academic or extracurricular programs or add additional services.

While children at this age may not be huge consumers themselves, they are very clearly influencers within their own homes and drive many the purchases made. Even with that temptation, perhaps we should be asking ourselves: Should we abide by a code of conduct as our online ads reach more children even within the confines of their schools?

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