Sara Grimes, a PhD candidate at SFU whose research is centred on children's evolving relationship with new technology, said parents can easily be lulled into a sense of safety because media companies are careful not to raise red flags with violent or sexual content on children's sites.
"What they are doing is using this notion of a safe or fun area that's really kid-appropriate to advertise heavily and also conduct market research in almost every aspect of the sites," said Grimes.
Advertising and marketing techniques run the gamut of placing a simple ad on the screen -- which Webkinz did for the first time last October to much outcry -- to actually incorporating products into the game.
You can read the rest of the article here. Thanks to Lina for her clear and succint coverage of the topic, as well as her excellent summation of my comments...which I'm sure were actually much more rambling than they appear in the final text.