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Adblock Plus launches global initiative to protect children from inappropriate online ads on Safer Internet Day

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By Gillian West, Social media manager

February 5, 2013 | 2 min read

Three-quarters (75 per cent) of UK parents believe their children are exposed to inappropriate content such as gambling, dating services and sexualised images through online advertisements.

To coincide with Safer Internet Day Adblock Plus is launching a global initiative to highlight how parents can protect their children from illicit and inappropriate material that can appear via online advertising.

Till Faida, co-founder of Adblock Plus, has backed the results of the censuswide research adding that online adverts are often embedded on websites from other sources, making it unlikely that web filters employed by parents will pick up on them.

Adblock Plus explains that the average person comes into contact with over 500 online adverts and pop-ups per day, ranging from credit cards and gambling to online dating. Faida adds that these ads can cause confusion and even distress for younger internet users through the images use.

“The growth in online gaming and interactive websites mean children as young as five can competently navigate their way around the internet. Many parents are happy to let their children log on unsupervised, as they believe they are free from accessing adult material, due to installed web filters,” commented Faida.

She adds: “This is all well and good but parents need to realise such measures do not go far enough. The growth in online advertising mean marketers and advertisers are operating in a very competitive field and are therefore becoming much more aggressive in their tactics to ensure their message is seen and clicked through. As a result, a child could be innocently clicking away when something pops up that gets their attention and they click through, opening up to content of a very adult nature.

“It’s therefore clear that parents recognise the concerns around online advertisements, however, there’s now the challenge of teaching them how to assert measures and control them.”

The Adblock campaign follows internet safety campaigners calls on the government to implement mandatory safety lessons for children as young as five.

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