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Online Advertising: Examining the Content and Messages within Websites Targeted at Children

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E-Learning and Digital Media Volume 9, Number 1, ISSN 2042-7530


It is recognised that from a young age children spend considerable portions of their leisure time on the Internet. In Australia a number of child-targeted magazines have associated websites, which have high and ever-increasing readership. We do not yet know the impact of this medium upon children. Overt advertising is evident on webpages, but so too are hidden advertisements in the written text, images and games. This material usually does not comply with existing broadcasting codes of practice for mainstream advertising. This article examines the instances of overt and covert advertisements for food within three websites monitored over a 12-month period. Across this time the authors found 13 examples of overt and 39 examples of covert food advertising. In this article they focus on three example advertisements as they analyse them in response to the following research questions: What examples of overt and covert advertising are evident within websites attached to children's magazines? What messages are presented? The authors discuss the implications this advertising presents for media literacy and the critical reading strategies required by young people as they navigate their way through and make meaning from these digital texts. (Contains 5 tables.)


Kervin, L., Jones, S.C. & Mantei, J. (2012). Online Advertising: Examining the Content and Messages within Websites Targeted at Children. E-Learning and Digital Media, 9(1), 69-82. Retrieved April 1, 2020 from .

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