Children exposed to horror film’s pre-roll ad: How can our kids stay safe online?

May 13, 2024

With technology at their fingertips, children today are now familiar with digital media and advertising from a very young age. Digital companies now have some of the best technical resources in the world, yet they are still struggling to deliver fully child-safe environments.

Last year saw YouTube face criticism for multiple disturbing videos containing violence found within their kid-safe, restricted mode.

Although YouTube announced a clampdown on the disturbing videos within the channel, several complaints have surfaced, leaving numerous children distressed having witnessed Supernatural Horror film ‘Insidious: The Last key’ pre-roll ad. The PEGI 15 trailer was shown before viewing a video of songs from Disney’s Frozen.  

The pre-roll trailer which was unable to be skipped for the first five seconds was brought to the ASA’s attention after receiving five complaints, three of which were from parents of children who witnessed the ad, causing “distress”.

Although the ad had not appeared on the YouTube Kids Platform, it highlights the growing concerns around ads appropriately targeting young audiences on video streaming sites.

Conversely, within the gaming industry, advertisers are protected through regulated platforms such as Kidoz’s Play Mode which obstructs features such as in-app purchases, possibly offering greater probability for a child-safe digital experience. Gaming apps are also subject to PEGI ratings, determining suitability based on age, executing a child-friendly interface.

At Venatus, we are fortunate to have a history of long-term relationships with premium publishers, permitting us to achieve extensive insights into our audiences. Our dedicated Kids Channel ensures we can engage our young audiences in the digital landscape safely and effectively.