The advertising industry has been warned by the government to bring online advertising under its remit or face the threat of legislation.

Ministers were spurred on to deliver the ultimatum to the advertising industry amid concerns at the number of internet ads aimed at young people.

The issue has also been on the agenda following a report by government advisor Dr Tanya Byron which suggested greater protection of children from offensive and material on television, the internet and on video games.

A government source told Brand Republic: “It cannot be right that 90 per cent of the complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority about online ads were outside its remit. The industry has got to put its own house in order.”

Statistics from the Internet Advertising Bureau show that over £2 billion was spent on the UK online advertising industry in 2006 and the UK holds nearly double the average global share.

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