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A safe glimpse within the "black box"? Ethical and legal principles when assessing digital marketing of food and drink to children

Tatlow-Golden, Mimi; Verdoodt, Valerie; Oates, John; Jewell, Jo; Breda, João J. and Boyland, Emma (2017). A safe glimpse within the "black box"? Ethical and legal principles when assessing digital marketing of food and drink to children. WHO Public Health Panorama, 3(4) pp. 613–621.

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Abstract

Marketing in digital media presents major new challenges to those seeking to identify, for research or monitoring purposes, the extent and nature of children’s exposure to marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages high in fat, salt and sugar. The WHO Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity called for reductions in children’s (including adolescents’) exposure to such marketing in all media and for the closing of regulatory loopholes. Assessing the extent and nature of such exposure and the effectiveness of proposed regulation is challenging in a new digital media era, however, as marketing is increasingly personalized, based on Internet users’ behavioural patterns. The ethics and legality of accessing personal data are not yet clearly established and the closed, “black box” nature of much digital data presents a significant challenge.
This paper builds on conclusions of a workshop at the WHO Regional Office for Europe that aimed to inform policy-makers, funders, researchers and regulators by summarizing the ethical and legal considerations researchers need to address in study design. The workshop considered digital ethics guidance, European Union law and terms and conditions of social media platforms; it concluded that such research can be carried out ethically, although it is particularly important for stakeholders to make case-by-case assessments and to view consent as a process. Nevertheless, the terms and conditions of digital platforms and applications present legal access challenges.

Item Type: Journal Item
Keywords: Digital media; social media; ethics; law; marketing; advertising; research; children; adolescents; food
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport > Childhood, Youth and Sport > Childhood and Youth
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport > Childhood, Youth and Sport
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Research Group: Childhood Youth and Sport Group (CYSG)
Item ID: 55642
Depositing User: Mimi Tatlow-Golden
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2018 10:51
Last Modified: 02 May 2019 01:43
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/55642
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