Marketing to Teenagers on the Internet Internet has become a common place for teenagers to do their research, play games and interact with others through social network. The use of internet surely has its implications on the lives of teenagers however the focus of this paper remains in conjunction with several previous studies on the subject of e-marketing to teenagers via web that has been highlighted for certain ethical issues that e-marketers need to be aware of and give fullest consideration when developing and conducting their marketing programs. This paper focuses on e-marketing banners that tempt teenagers to take advantage of dating services offered by different websites.
Advertising through e-marketing banners although is a small component of digital media, it surely has profound implications not only for e-marketers but also those who access them. There are thousands of online teenage dating companies offering dating services on the web using ad banners on third party websites to advertise their services that could be viewed to have serious ethical implications. These companies use browsing patterns to identify age groups and then put these ad banners for marketing their dating services to teenagers.
These banners are commonly placed on music or gaming websites or social networks that are frequently visited by teenagers. These banners are tailored for regional adaptation and attract teenagers to explore dating opportunities in their area. Online dating services can be dangerous for teenagers as these services provide ways of permitting teenagers to indulge in activities they may not be aware of or have very little knowledge. These dating services do not verify personal information of its members and teenagers can easily fall for someone who does not have the right set of mind and has other intentions to exploit teenagers that could in fact lead to teenage violence, prostitution or pornography (Sousa, 2005).
Online dating services including those targeted at teenagers have been argued against by the general public and several rules and laws have been proposed for their regulation by the government. In 2005, an online dating company True. com was able to persuade state legislatures to pursue all online dating companies to clearly state on their websites that no pre-screening of members is made for their criminal or sexual offences and in case of companies failing to provide this information to their members they will be penalized and eventually shut down after repeated non compliance (Heydary, 2005).
A recent criticism for teenage dating services was highlighted by a BBC’ reporter, Duncan Crawford who investigated a website MyLOL. com that is primarily designed and developed for teenagers but has hundreds of adults registered as well amongst its 17,000 registered members. This website and other similar ones are criticized for not doing enough to track their memberships and activities that are going on their websites.
Such sites are considered as an open playing field for pedophiles that can induce teenagers to get involved in illegal activities as the reported provides evidence of such conversations taking place on the site (Crawford, 2008). It is the opinion of the researcher that e-marketing through ad banners for online dating services should be restricted and carefully regulated for their content. Also online dating services must be regulated by the introduction of tougher laws that push them to take much more responsibility of the activities taking place on their sites.
However, it is also suggested that such regulation may be difficult to develop and enforced therefore it places much more responsibility on parents to discuss issues with their children and guide them in the best possible manner to safeguard themselves from crimes that take place on such websites. References Crawford, D. (2008, July 18). 'Teen date' website faces criticism. Retrieved March 26, 2010, from BBC Radio: http: //news. bbc. co. uk/newsbeat/hi/technology/newsid_7512000/7512463.stm Heydary, J. (2005, March 3). Regulation of Online Dating Services Sparks Controversy.
Retrieved March 26, 2010, from E-Commerce Times: http: //www. ecommercetimes. com/story/41004.html? wlc=1269589054 Sousa, C. A. (2005, March 15). Teen dating violence. Family Court Review, pp. 356 - 374.