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Digital Media

Transformations in Human Communication

Edited By Paul Messaris and Lee Humphreys

The age of digital media has given rise to a new social world. It is a world in which the transmission of information from the few to the many is steadily being supplanted by the multi-directional flow of facts, lies, and ideas. It is a world in which hundreds of millions of people are voluntarily depositing large amounts of personal details in publicly accessible databases. It is a world in which interpersonal relationships are increasingly being conducted in the virtual sphere. Above all, this is a world that seems to be veering off in unpredictable ways from the trends of the immediate past. This book is a probing examination of that world, and of the changes that it has ushered into our lives.

In more than thirty essays by a wide range of scholars, this must-have second edition examines the impact of digital media in six areas – information, persuasion, community, gender and sexuality, surveillance and privacy, and cross-cultural communication – and offers an invaluable guide for students and scholars alike. With one exception, all essays are completely new or revised for this volume.

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Chapter 9: Interactivity and Its Implications for Understanding Children’s Responses to Online Game Advertising (Haiming Hang)


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Interactivity and Its Implications for Understanding Children’s Responses to Online Game Advertising

Haiming Hang

How children respond to advertising has attracted significant academic attention in the past few decades (Wright, Friestad, & Boush, 2005). The increasing popularity of digital technologies such as the Internet has changed children’s media habits. For example, in the European Union (EU), more and more children aged eight or under go online, with the Netherlands highest in the EU (Holloway, Green, & Livingstone, 2013). A similar pattern can be observed in Britain, with 83% nine-to-sixteen-year-old British children accessing the Internet and on average spending 102 minutes online everyday (Livingstone, Haddon, Görzig, & Ólafsson, 2010). Consequently, many companies have shifted their advertising budgets to digital media (Moore & Rideout, 2007). It is predicted that worldwide digital advertising spend will increase from US$104.58 billion in 2008 to US$ 252.02 billion in 2018 (Statista, 2015).

As a result, various child-targeting digital advertising techniques begin to undergo scrutiny, with online game advertising attracting most attention (e.g., Dias & Agante, 2011; Hang & Auty, 2011; Mallinckrodt & Mizerski, 2007; Waiguny, Nelson, & Terlutter, 2012, 2014). In particular, recent research suggests online game advertising exploits a loophole in the regulatory system, heavily promoting food and drinks high in fat, salt and sugar to children (Moore & Rideout, 2007). This is worrying as playing an online game featuring unhealthy food can increase children’s consumption of nutrientpoor snacks and...

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