Google ads for Scientology on children's Internet game in Israel

Discussion in 'Situation Rooms' started by The Wrong Guy, Dec 2, 2013.

  1. The Wrong Guy Member

    Parents fume over Scientology ads on kids' Internet game

    Scientology advertisement on kids' game Webkinz invites children to "get to know yourself. Get to know life. Visit our website"

    • Scientology center insists it does not have control over where Google places the ads.

    December 2, 2013

    Advertisements for the Church of Scientology appearing on popular online game Webkinz has parents across the country up in arms, claiming such banner ads amount to "brainwashing."

    The computer game -- which can be accessed through a code that comes with a doll sold in toy stores nationwide -- has steadily gained ground in Israel. On the website, gamers can raise children that look like the purchased doll, providing them with meals, bathing and playing games with them.

    The game is most popular among children between the ages of four and 10, boys and girls alike and, like almost all online games, provides space for advertisers. But as the game's popularity grew, several parents began reporting ads they deemed inappropriate for their children, namely promotions for the Church of Scientology.

    "Get to know yourself. Get to know life. Visit our website. The Israeli Center of Scientology," the advertisement read.

    Tzvika, a parent who first encountered the pop-ups while his 11-year-old daughter was playing Webkinz, was furious over the discovery.

    "This is very serious. They are brainwashing children; it's surreal and inconceivable. This game is supposed to be safe for kids. Everyone is saying the internet is dangerous, so you think to yourself, a children's game must be clean, and then you see all kinds of ads like this," said Tzvika.


    Sefi Fischler, the spokesman for the Scientology center in Israel, said the church did not actively pursue advertising space on children's websites.

    "We are working with Google, and we have no control over which specific sites show the ad, just the general category. I should say the option for gaming websites was not among the chosen site-categories we picked for the ad. Additionally, minors are not allowed to partake in our services unless they can provide written permission from their parents."

    The full article is here:
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