At least once a week, two thirds of all children of primary-school age will play an internet game that was created to draw attention to a brand, researchers said. Most of these advertisements are for snacks and candy. Only 6 percent of these children are aware that such advergames are advertisements.
Such games do affect their behaviour, said Frans Folkvord, from Radboud University in The Netherlands. Folkvord tested the effects of such hidden online food advertisements on the eating behaviour of more than 1,000 children.
"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," said Folkvord.
"The websites of food manufacturers contain games, which also offer children the option of sharing games with their friends," he said. Folkvord found that children do not recognise the games as advertisements, even when brand names and logos are clearly visible.
"Children play a game, get hungry and reach for treats. As the cycle continues, children fail to learn healthy eating behaviour," said Folkvord.

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