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Online is Child’s Play

Online interactivity will quickly become a common form of child play, according to a study conducted by the New York office of Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising....
January 1, 1996

Online interactivity will quickly become a common form of child play, according to a study conducted by the New York office of Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising.

Already, the boundaries between learning and play become quickly blurred when kids get on their computer. They play games, communicate through chat groups and E-mail and actively search out information. Unlike passive television viewing or radio listening, children become active participants when they are in front of the computer, according to the study, which was commissioned by Saatchi to better understand how and why kids use on-line media.

The study used cultural anthropologists who directly observed children as they ‘played’ online. The study aimed to find out what kids get out of using online media and how advertisers can incorporate these insights into their own online advertising for kids.

Researchers found that the online environment is a place where children like to exercise control. The computer is a safe, parent-free environment where they control the boundaries. For children, interactivity stands for freedom from their parents and a chance to explore a world beyond their own neighborhood.

According to Erica Gruen, senior vice president and director of Saatchi & Saatchi interactive: ‘Marketers and advertisers need to approach online media in a whole new way in order to be successful connecting with this younger target.’

Here’s some advice:

- Give kids plenty of things to do to get them to come back to the site.

- Create a space that is just for kids hosted by a brand character. But, keep in mind the brand’s target age. It might be necessary to involve parents since their support is critical for younger children.

- Advertisers should monitor the conversations on the billboards they sponsor. For more information contact Saatchi & Saatchi at 212-463-2000.

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