Consumer Reports Webwatch and the Mediatech Foundation have published a study of how young children interact with the internet, warning that "Publishers of many major children's Web sites should do a better job disclosing sales and advertising information to parents, especially as more kids at younger ages go online to play and meet friends." The study asked families to keep journals and use video cameras to track the way their children used sites such as Club Penguin, Webkinz, Nick Jr. and Barbie.com. (They've posted some of the footage on YouTube, where you can watch it yourself.) It found that children as young as two years old are surfing the web and observed "repeated examples of attempts to manipulate children for the sake of commerce. ... We believe publishers of children's Internet content need to be reminded they are dealing with an audience that thinks differently than adults. Considering how easily millions of adults are regularly fooled by offers of 'free credit reports,' deceptive advertising, and 'order before midnight' commercials, we think it is unreasonable and irresponsible to subject children to the same hard-sell tactics."
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