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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 96-100

A content analysis of food and beverage advertisements associated with Arabic children's videos on the internet and its relation to dental health


1 Department of Preventive Dental Sciences, Riyadh Colleges of Dentistry and Pharmacy, Riyadh 11681, Saudi Arabia
2 Former Interns, Riyadh Colleges of Dentistry and Pharmacy, Riyadh 11681, Saudi Arabia

Date of Web Publication25-Jul-2017

Correspondence Address:
Abdulrahman Dahham AlSaffan
Department of Preventive Dental Sciences, Riyadh Colleges of Dentistry and Pharmacy, P. O. Box: 84891, Riyadh 11681
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/sjos.SJOralSci_19_17

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  Abstract 

Background and Aim: The use of targeted advertising by internet providers has meant that unlike television, all viewers do not view the same advertising content. The aim of this study was to analyze three popular Arabic children's video channels on YouTube™ and analyze the advertisements associated with these channels. The study also aimed to evaluate if the advertisement content varied according to the type of user.
Methodology: The three most popular Arabic children's channels on YouTube™ were accessed using two separate Google™ accounts; one which frequently accessed children's content and one that never did. The content of advertisements and the number and pattern of repetition of advertisements were tabulated. The food and beverage content and the sugar content were documented. These were compared between the two accounts using the Chi-square test.
Results: Food and beverage advertising comprised almost half the total advertising with a significantly greater number of high sugar food and beverage content advertising on the account which frequently accessed children's content.
Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that the content and penetration of advertisements on the internet vary too much to be meaningfully regulated. Dentists should be aware of the effect of these advertisements and counsel parents to the dangers of targeted advertising of high sugar products on the internet.

Keywords: Children's videos, content analysis, internet, sugars


How to cite this article:
AlSaffan AD, AlDayel E, AlZamami M, Satout A, AlMotairi Y, Pani SC. A content analysis of food and beverage advertisements associated with Arabic children's videos on the internet and its relation to dental health. Saudi J Oral Sci 2017;4:96-100

How to cite this URL:
AlSaffan AD, AlDayel E, AlZamami M, Satout A, AlMotairi Y, Pani SC. A content analysis of food and beverage advertisements associated with Arabic children's videos on the internet and its relation to dental health. Saudi J Oral Sci [serial online] 2017 [cited 2018 May 26];4:96-100. Available from: http://www.saudijos.org/text.asp?2017/4/2/96/211562




  Introduction Top


The promotion of food items through advertisements in media has been a part of our daily lives for over 200 years.[1] The role of advertisements on the overall health of children is an issue that has been keenly studied by pediatricians, with an emphasis on the influence these advertisements have on the food habits of children and the role they play in the development of obesity.[2],[3] This has been followed up by similar content analysis of television channels and the role they play in the promotion of oral health and the marketing of products considered both detrimental and beneficial to oral health.[3],[4],[5]

The world today is becoming digitalized with a rapid growth in the distribution and ease of access to the internet.[6] Both dieticians and pediatricians have made attempts to analyze the contents of English-language websites for children and study the types of food and beverage advertisements found on these sites.[7],[8],[9],[10],[11] The use of the internet has been rapid and well received in Saudi Arabia and has been described as “social tool” allowing for greater ease of communication across the kingdom.[12] There is a large percentage of internet users in Saudi Arabia who access Arabic content online.

Over the past decade, videos on sites such as YouTube™ (Google Corp., Palo Alto CA, USA) have become a major source of entertainment and information for children and adolescents.[13],[14],[15] The concept of advertisements on these channels, similar to the use of advertisements on television, may be a potent messaging tool to reach out to children. However, little is known of the content of these advertisements and the potential impact they could have on dental health. Furthermore, the use of targeted advertising by internet providers has meant that unlike television, all viewers do not view the same advertising content.

The aim of this study was to analyze three popular Arabic children's video channels on YouTube™ and analyze the advertisements associated with these channels. The study also aimed to evaluate if the advertisement content varied according to the type of user.


  Methodology Top


Ethical approval

The study was registered with the research center of the Riyadh Colleges of Dentistry and Pharmacy and received ethical approval from the Institutional Review Board of the institution (FIRP/2015/232). The study was conducted by analyzing open source content, and no permissions were needed to view the material broadcast on the internet.

Selection of the content for analysis

A search was conducted on YouTube™ for the most popular Arabic channels with children's content using the search terms “Arabic,” “children,” “video.” The three most popular channels were selected based on an aggregate of the total number of subscribers and the average views for the five most popular videos on each channel. Based on this, the channels selected for analysis were as follows:



Ten of the most popular videos on each of the sites were selected and screened to ensure that they did not have any content that was detrimental to dental health. If such content was found, the video was excluded and the next most popular video was selected.

Analysis of advertising content

The advertising content was viewed using two accounts on YouTube™. The first account was of a parent of a 5-year-old child who regularly accessed the above-mentioned sites, whereas the second account belonged to one of the authors who had never visited the site and had not intentionally viewed child based content on YouTube™. Each video was accessed five times from each account giving a total of 150 (15 × 5 × 2) views. Each view was mapped into three categories; (a) no advertising content, (b) food- and beverage-related contents, and (c) advertisements unrelated to food and beverages. The food and beverage content was then divided into sugar-rich and nonsugar-rich content. The sugar-rich content was subdivided into three categories: (i) liquid, (ii) solid and sticky, and (iii) slowly dissolving sugars [Table 1].
Table 1: Categorization of food and beverages advertised

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Statistical analysis

The frequency of the advertisements was tabulated and categorized. The difference between the types of content was measured using the Chi-square test. The difference in the content of advertisements between the two accounts was measured using the Mann–Whitney U-test. All statistical analyses were performed using the SPSS Version 21 (IBM Corp, Armonk, NY, USA) data processing software. The level of significance for all tests was set at P < 0.05.


  Results Top


A total of 15 videos were accessed at five different intervals from each of the selected accounts. The 150 views yielded a total of 186 advertisements, with a mean of 1.24 advertisements per video. The 186 advertisements analyzed were evenly distributed across channels and food and beverage advertisements comprised 52%–64% of all advertisements viewed. The Fisher's exact test showed that there was no significant difference in the distribution of contents between the different channels [Table 2].
Table 2: Type of advertising observed on the different YouTube™ channels

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When this content was compared between the account used by an individual with high exposure to child content and an account whose user did not use child content, it was observed that food and beverage advertisements were significantly greater in the account that frequently viewed child content [Table 3]. When the type of food and beverage content was compared between the two groups, it was observed that the high sugar group made up 56.1% of the advertisements when accessed using the child content-based account and 62.1% when accessed from the child content-free account. The Mann–Whitney U-test showed no significant difference between the two groups [Table 4].
Table 3: Difference in the advertising content depending on the type of account used to access the videos

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Table 4: Comparison of sugar content in the advertising according to the type of account used

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When the type of sugar in the high sugar group of advertisements was analyzed, it was observed that liquid sugars formed the greatest content of advertising comprising 43.86% of the advertisements, whereas the slowly dissolving sugars comprised the least content (20.18%). There were no significant differences observed in the number of advertisements of each type of sugar when accessed using the child content-based account or the account without regular viewing of child-based content [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Type of sugars in the advertising content

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The videos were analyzed for the similarity of advertisements on each view from the same account. It was observed that the same advertisement as the previous view showed up in only about 35% of the cases and in only four videos did the same advertisement show up in the case of all five views. This lack of similarity in advertisements was observed across each of the three websites [Table 5].
Table 5: Number of repeated advertisement views on each channel

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  Discussion Top


The analysis of advertising content on television has emerged as a useful tool for pediatricians, dieticians, and pediatric dentists to monitor the exposure of children to unhealthy foods and beverages.[2],[7],[13] The successful monitoring and pressure applied by health-care advocates have resulted in a real change in countries like the United Kingdom where there have been concrete proposals to limit the amount of sugar that children are exposed to.[14],[16] However, there is little data on the type of advertising that children are exposed to on the internet.

The Middle East in general and Saudi Arabia in particular are in the mid of a severe childhood obesity problem.[17],[18] This has been attributed to a large increase in the consumption of sugary and processed foods.[18] While television content in the Kingdom remains highly regulated, there is little known about the content of advertisements on internet video platforms such as YouTube. There is evidence to show that the access to internet and the amount of content available on online platforms have grown exponentially over the past decade.[14],[19] The aim of this study was to examine the content of advertisements associated with Arabic Children's videos posted on YouTube and accessed from Saudi Arabia.

Internet platforms such as YouTube often employ a strategy of targeted advertising, with the individuals previous browsing history being a primary factor in the type of advertisements the individual is exposed to.[19] This study therefore accessed the content from two separate accounts, one associated with watching child-specific content and one without. The fact that the account which frequently accessed children's videos had significantly greater food and beverage advertising is a matter of concern.

The traditional purpose of content analysis has been to identify patterns of advertisement employed on television.[5],[13],[20] The uniform nature of television advertising makes such analyses a useful tool in the identification and regulation of harmful products or food substances.[5] However, the fact that there was minimal repetition of advertising in the content analyzed shows that regulation on the internet may not be feasible.


  Conclusion Top


The results of this study suggest that the content and penetration of advertisements on the internet vary too much to be meaningfully regulated. Dentists should be aware of the effect of these advertisements and counsel parents to the dangers of targeted advertising of high sugar products on the internet.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

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2.
Brady J, Mendelson R, Farrell A, Wong S. Online marketing of food and beverages to children: A content analysis. Can J Diet Pract Res 2010;71:166-71.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
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Gatou T, Mamai-Homata E, Polychronopoulou A, Koletsi-Kounari H. The extent of food advertising to children on Greek television: Focus on foods potentially detrimental to oral health. Community Dent Health 2014;31:68-74.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
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Ghimire N, Rao A. Comparative evaluation of the influence of television advertisements on children and caries prevalence. Glob Health Action 2013;6:20066.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
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Sukumaran A, Diwakar MP, Shastry SM. A content analysis of advertisements related to oral health in children's Tamil television channels – A preliminary report. Int J Paediatr Dent 2012;22:232-8.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
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Cowburn G, Boxer A. Magazines for children and young people and the links to Internet food marketing: A review of the extent and type of food advertising. Public Health Nutr 2007;10:1024-31.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
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Henry AE, Story M. Food and beverage brands that market to children and adolescents on the Internet: A content analysis of branded web sites. J Nutr Educ Behav 2009;41:353-9.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
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Kelly B, Bochynska K, Kornman K, Chapman K. Internet food marketing on popular children's websites and food product websites in Australia. Public Health Nutr 2008;11:1180-7.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
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Weber K, Story M, Harnack L. Internet food marketing strategies aimed at children and adolescents: A content analysis of food and beverage brand web sites. J Am Diet Assoc 2006;106:1463-6.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
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Sait SM, Al-Tawil KM. Impact of Internet usage in Saudi Arabia: A social perspective. Int J Inf Technol Web Eng 2007;2:81-115.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
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Al-Mazyad M, Flannigan N, Burnside G, Higham S, Boyland E. Food advertisements on UK television popular with children: A content analysis in relation to dental health. Br Dent J 2017;222:171-6.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
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Knight K, van Leeuwen DM, Roland D, Moll HA, Oostenbrink R. YouTube: Are parent-uploaded videos of their unwell children a useful source of medical information for other parents? Arch Dis Child 2017. pii: Archdischild-2016-311967.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
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Cranwell J, Murray R, Lewis S, Leonardi-Bee J, Dockrell M, Britton J. Adolescents' exposure to tobacco and alcohol content in YouTube music videos. Addiction 2015;110:703-11.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
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Chapman KJ, Fairchild RM, Morgan MZ. Food references in UK children's magazines - An oral health perspective. Br Dent J 2014;217:E20.  Back to cited text no. 16
    
17.
Abu El Qomsan MA, Alasqah MN, Alqahtani FA, Alobaydaa MA, Alharbi MM, Kola Z. Intricate evaluation of association between dental caries and obesity among the children in Al-Kharj City (Saudi Arabia). J Contemp Dent Pract 2017;18:29-33.  Back to cited text no. 17
    
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Farsi DJ, Elkhodary HM, Merdad LA, Farsi NM, Alaki SM, Alamoudi NM, et al. Prevalence of obesity in elementary school children and its association with dental caries. Saudi Med J 2016;37:1387-94.  Back to cited text no. 18
    
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Basch CH, Zybert P, Reeves R, Basch CE. What do popular YouTube(TM) videos say about vaccines? Child Care Health Dev 2017. doi: 10.1111/cch.12442. [Epub ahead of print].  Back to cited text no. 19
    
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Yeap CK, Slack-Smith LM. Internet information on child oral health and the first dental visit. Aust Dent J 2013;58:278-82.  Back to cited text no. 20
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5]



 

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