- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The federal government is spending over half a million dollars to create a social media campaign to persuade mothers to keep their daughters from going to tanning salons. 

The grant, awarded by the National Institutes for Health, will target moms on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram for two school years, according to the project description, The Washington Free Beacon reported Wednesday. 

The study, called “Likes, Pins, and Views: Engaging Moms on Teen Indoor Tanning Thru [sic] Social Media,” will also analyze the political ideology of mothers to see whether or not the online campaign impacts their engagement. 

“Indoor tanning (IT) increases the risk of melanoma and many states have passed policies to restrict access to IT facilities by minors to reduce the rate of melanoma,” the project description reads, The Washington Free Beacon reported. “A social media campaign will be delivered to mothers with adolescent daughters designed to convince them not to allow their daughters to indoor tan in a state where IT restrictions have an exception for parental consent.”

“Reducing mothers’ permissiveness for IT by adolescent daughters will improve the effectiveness of parental permission IT laws and help reduce melanoma in the United States,” the grant said.

The goal of the project is to persuade mothers to support a “complete ban” on indoor tanning for teens under the age of 18 by signing a petition, sending a letter to their local government, or attending a hearing. 

The campaign will be targeted at states like Tennessee, where the study will be based, that allow teens under the age of 18 to tan indoors with parental permission. 

Klein Buendel, Inc. received the $676,417 grant to conduct the study. The company previously received $791,846 from the Department of Justice to develop a computer game designed to “limit the aggression” of middle school boys, The Washington Free Beacon reported. 

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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