This study aims to examine young children’s (ages 4 to 7) knowledge and skills (i.e. their advertising literacy) for television (TV) commercials, YouTube pre-roll ads and influencer marketing. Furthermore, this study explores how parental perceptions and practices and children’s social abilities influence the development of their advertising literacy.
Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with parents (N = 35) and their child(ren) (ages 4 to 7, N = 40).
Results revealed preschool children have advertising literacy skills for TV commercials and YouTube pre-roll ads, but not for influencer marketing. These skills are limited to advertising recognition based on perceptual cues and a simple understanding of selling intent. Children’s advertising skills evolved according to age but did not relate to social development. Furthermore, advertising literacy was related to parental media mediation: the more restrictive parents were regarding media use, the less advertising literacy their children appeared to have. No moral reflections regarding advertising were found among the preschool children.
This study fills significant gaps in the literature on young children and advertising. It conducts a qualitative investigation into young children’s knowledge of digital advertising formats (pre-roll ads and influencer marketing) and how they differ from traditional advertising (TV commercials). Furthermore, it takes both parental influences and social developmental variables into account.
Funding: This work was supported by Special Research Fund of Ghent University.
Loose, F., Hudders, L., De Jans, S. and Vanwesenbeeck, I. (2023), "A qualitative approach to unravel young children’s advertising literacy for YouTube advertising: in-depth interviews with children and their parents", Young Consumers, Vol. 24 No. 1, pp. 74-94. https://doi.org/10.1108/YC-04-2022-1507
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