Dating website ad on One Direction app for juniors
NSPCC says the appearance of the advertisement is 'extremely concerning'
The British developer of a mobile phone app for young fans of One Direction has been criticised for showing an advertisement for a dating website.
The app – a game called Date One Direction (D1D) – developed by Digicub, features an advert from Zoosk, a popular dating website, despite claiming that the app is suitable for children as young as nine.
The D1D app, free to download, gives young fans the chance to virtually date stars of the UK's biggest boyband. Since its release in 2012, it has accumulated more than 1.5 million downloads worldwide, and is the most successful of Digicub's apps, which include "I Love JB [Justin Bieber]".
The advert appears as a small but visible button encouraging its users to take up an offer of a "Free Zoosk Download".
Claire Lilley, the NSPCC's Head of Child Safety Online, said the appearance of a dating-site advertisement on the app is "extremely concerning".
An Advertising Standards Authority spokeswoman said that if it received complaints, the advert would most likely be assessed under ASA "social responsibility" guidelines.
However, Zoosk, responding to a request for comment, said last night: "We were not aware that our ad was placed in this app and we are... working with our advertising vendors to have it removed. Our service is for those [of] 18 and over."
Concern has also been raised about the content of the app itself. Its blurb says: "Do you love One Direction? Have you ever dreamed of dating them? Well now you can!" And, "How about treating Niall to breakfast in bed? Or taking Harry for a picnic? Or heating things up with a romantic bubble bath."
Sophie Linington, who runs The Parent Zone, an internet advice website, said: "I'm surprised, given that it's aimed at nine-year-olds and young teenagers. It's not helpful for young girls to get that message [that they can share a bath]."
Digicub was asked for comment, but, at the time of going to press, had not responded.
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...
£50000 per annum + 26 days, pension, private medical : Ashdown Group: A highly...
£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Service Desk Analyst - Chessington, Surrey...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Charter Selection: This renowned and well establish...