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- 01/11/2016

Appetite in youngsters can be stimulated by Internet games

AgroFOOD Industry Hi Tech

According with dr Frans Folkvord, behavioural scientist at the Radboud University, Internet could be one of the reason children between 6 and 11 years old are eating too much candies. As it is illustrated in his research “Food advertising and eating behavior in children” published at the beginning of December 2015, two thirds of the children attendig the pre-school are playing at least an Internet game that was created to build some awareness about a brand, mostly of candies and snacks. Problemi s, children are often not able to discern these games as advertisements, only 6% of them can do that. “In contrast to television, where the clearly delimited blocks of commercials can help viewers guard against temptation, on the internet, advertising is mixed with other types of content. The websites of food manufacturers contain games, which also offer children the option of sharing games with their friends” stated Folkvord.
Moreover, discovered that children do not recognise the games as advertisements, even when brand names and logos are clearly visible. Moreover, it does not matter whether the games are about candy or fruit: children eat more candy after playing a game involving food. During the five-minute break after playing the food-related games, children ate 72 more calories (16 M&Ms or 10 candy cola bottles) than did children in the control conditions.
“Children play a game, get hungry and reach for treats” concludes Folkvord. “As the cycle continues, children fail to learn healthy eating behaviour. The results of my study indicate that these advertisements have an even heavier influence on children who are already overweight.
“Hence, according to the authors of the paper,  the necessity of a discussion concerning the prohibition of food commercials aimed at children. Forlkvord is collaborating with the University of Barcelona to formulate a recommendation to the European Union in this regard.
“Finally, the research comes to the conclusion that manufacturers’ promises to decrease their advertising to children are ineffective. “That is all the more reason to advocate a ban”.