TIA is an advocate for sound and sensible measures that protect the privacy, safety and special vulnerabilities of children in the face of traditional and digital media. TIA’s goal is to preserve the toy industry’s right to communicate to children in a responsible manner.

The three key pillars of TIA’s Responsible Marketing to Children objectives are:

Safety Standards

Industry Outreach

Consumer Guidance 

To stay abreast of new guidelines, laws and issues that companies need to know regarding outreach to young consumers

To promote compliance with the relevant laws and guidelines

To help empower parents, children and families make informed choices about the products they purchase.


TIA’s Responsible Marketing to Children Committee formulates and advocates the Association’s policies and positions relating to M2C matters.

The Member Code of Conduct and Industry Statement on Marketing to Children lay out TIA’s commitment to truthful advertising and marketing that conforms to established codes and guidelines.


Children’s Online Privacy is the current “hot button” for U.S. issues related to marketing to children.

As the interest and involvement of legislators and regulators increases, so does the impact on the day-to-day operations of toy companies and their supporting vendors. Of key concern are proposals that will limit a company’s ability to obtain necessary data to analyze their digital offerings and improve content; impede the access of children to personalized, but anonymous, online experiences; and hinder a marketer’s ability to offer targeted advertising on e-commerce and other sites focused on consumers over the age of 13.

Children's Online Privacy


See More


The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce recently collaborated with a privacy multi-stakeholder group to create a working definition for the term “Mobile Application.”

According to the NTIA: “‘Mobile Application’ means a program that runs on a smartphone or tablet computer [or other portable computing device] that sends or receives data over a wireless connection.”


TIA is committed to promoting best practices in all aspects of marketing and advertising to children and to adhering to all applicable government regulations and requirements, including the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the COPPA Rule.

(See more in the “Laws, Regulations and Legislation” section of this website)

In the case of online data privacy, COPPA includes a “safe harbor” component that allows companies to participate in recognized safe harbor programs approved by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). CARU, the Better Business Bureau (BBB), TRUSTe and others offer safe harbor children’s privacy programs.


TIA is committed to the advancement of self-regulatory practices in both traditional and online communications, especially as technologies continue to evolve, to protect consumers and safeguard the ability of businesses to offer and improve engaging products and content for children. To this end, TIA encourages toy companies to adhere to advertising and marketing self-regulation programs across all applicable channels of communication, and to monitor data protection best practices and to identify how they apply to emerging technologies, such as mobile apps.

Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU)

The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) is the children's arm of the advertising industry's self-regulation program. CARU evaluates child-directed advertising and promotional material in all media to advance truthfulness, accuracy and consistency; its Guidelines address advertising directed to children under 13 and online privacy and safety directed to children under 12.

CARU actually monitors online privacy activities of kid-directed websites whether or not companies are formal participants in the CARU Safe Harbor program, and the CARU Guidelines go beyond COPPA, covering websites where there is a reasonable expectation that a significant number of children will visit.

The following resources are available to help toy industry stakeholders learn more about CARU, its mission and how it develops and maintains its guidelines for outreach to young consumers

  • CARU, its mission, and how it develops and maintains its guidelines for outreach to young consumers;
  • The current edition of CARU’s Self-Regulatory Guidelines for Children's Advertising and relevant laws;
  • Newly developed guidelines and emerging issues, including content blurring and privacy;
  • Principles addressing the most common issues (including case studies and examples that will help to illustrate key points).

  • CARU Update on Child-Directed Advertising
    Experts from the Children's Advertising Review Unit explain how the advertising industry's self-regulatory body reviews and evaluates child-directed advertising in all media to help ensure accurate, responsible messaging to kids and the work that's underway to help assure their privacy online.

  • CARU’s Self-Regulatory Guidelines for Children's Advertising and relevant laws
    CARU’s self- regulatory program sets high standards for the industry to assure that advertising directed to children is not deceptive, unfair or inappropriate for its intended audience. The standards take into account the special vulnerabilities of children, e.g., their inexperience, immaturity, susceptibility to being misled or unduly influenced, and their lack of cognitive skills needed to evaluate the credibility of advertising.

  • CARU’s Parent’s Guide to Advertising and Your Child
    Developed in collaboration with TIA, this guide provides parents with tips and strategies for teaching their kids about the principles and purpose of advertising, and how to be alert for different forms of ads and marketing – including those that appear online, on television, in magazines, in apps and on mobile phones, on product packaging, and in the form of product placements.

  • International Council of Toy Industries (ICTI)

    The International Council of Toy Industries (ICTI) is the industry association for the worldwide toy industry. Its membership includes national toy associations from twenty countries, each of which has its own membership made up of toy brands operating in its own geography.

    • Guiding Principles for Advertising and Marketing Communication to Children
      ICTI and its members are committed both to maintaining ethical standards in marketing and advertising to children across all channels of communication as part of an advertising and marketing self-regulation program and also to adhering to local government regulations and requirements. The objective of ICTI’s guiding principles is to ensure that toy industry advertisers and marketers develop and maintain a high sense of social responsibility in advertising and marketing to children around the world. It is not meant to be a code.



    Do's and Don'tsThis COPPA Compliance Do’s and Don’ts (Second Edition |May 2014) amends the checklist released by TIA on May 13, 2013 and provides additional guidance to TIA members for complying with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the final COPPA Rule issued by the Federal Trade Commission, based on developments that have occurred since the final COPPA Rule took effect on July 1, 2013.

    Download the paper


    Checklist for Moble AppsTIA has developed this Checklist for Mobile Apps and Promotions (Second Edition |May 2014) as a framework that member companies can use to examine and evaluate the risks and opportunities related to app initiatives. Because of the complexity of apps, and the varying level of knowledge and awareness of legal implications of app initiatives within the industry, this Checklist provides detailed information to help all toy industry stakeholders engage in a robust review of the app initiative or app development process.

    Download the paper


    The Changing Privacy and Data Security Landscape: From Mobile Apps to OBA This 2014 TIA White Paper reviews the current domestic and international laws and regulations, as well as reports, policy initiatives, and self-regulatory standards, that govern privacy and data security in a manner that affects toy companies.

    Download the 2014 paper

    Download the 2012 paper (archive) (Members Only)


    TIA provides members with an update on key activities regarding safety standards, technical affairs and communications issues that the Association is engaged in both federally and in the states.

    View the complete list of reports. (Members Only)

    Contact Us

    Ed Desmond
    Executive Vice President, External Affairs

    Toy Industry Association, Inc.
    1200 G St., N.W. Suite 450
    Washington, D.C. 20005