Ini Vanwesenbeeck (1988) holds a Master in Communications degree (University of Antwerp, 2010). Her masters’ thesis covered a quasi-experimental research project involving elementary school children, where she investigated banner blindness and the understanding of persuasive intentions of banners. Her main field of interest concerns the link between children and ICT, with a strong emphasis on (internet) advertisement. In the past, she participated in several projects regarding eSafety and youth.
Cognitive development in a digital world: children and persuasive communication on the Internet.
The FWO, Research Foundation Flanders, granted a four year PhD Fellowship to MIOS' researcher Ini Vanwesenbeeck for the research project entitled "Cognitive development in a digital world: children and persuasive communication on the Internet".
For the past three decades, scientific and public debates have been held on the influence of advertising on children and adolescents. Today, this remains an important subject of scientific research. With children spending increasing amounts of time online, there is a clear need for empirical research on children/teens and their ability to understand the persuasive intent of commercial messages on the internet. Many of the previous research on children’s and teens’ understanding of (traditional) advertising has primarily focused on age. This research project will therefore investigate the ability of children and adolescents at different ages to recognize and understand the persuasive intent of two different forms of Internet advertising. Moreover, this project extends prior studies, by also taking several other influences into account. By using an experimental design, we will be able to measure whether children’s and adolescents’ recognition and understanding of Internet advertising depend on and/or is associated with (a) the type of Internet advertisement, (b) the child’s involvement with the advertised product, and (c) different characteristics of the child and its environment.
For more information on this research, please contact Ini Vanwesenbeeck (researcher), Michel Walrave & Koen Ponnet (supervisors).