Teach Your Children to be Good Consumers of Advertising
How many ads are children exposed to every day? One hundred? Five hundred? Would you believe, an astonishing 3,000, according to Brower and Leon in The Consumer’s Guide to Effective Environmental Choices: Practical Advice from the Union of Concerned Scientists. Billboards, internet ads, text messages, junk mail, and TV commercials bombard our kids daily. Use the tips below to help your kids develop sound reasoning skills to apply to advertising.
Tips for Talking
Watch TV with your child or sit with her when she’s online. Ask questions about the ads that will help her analyze what she sees. Examples could be, “What do you think the message of this ad is?” “How does that make you feel?” and “Is there something the advertiser isn’t telling us?” Point out that advertising may strive to make people feel like they need things they don’t have.
Spend one day keeping a running total of the advertisements you and your child see or hear. Point out less obvious ads, like a flyer that comes with a bill in the mail, a coupon offer via a text message, even the grocery ads.
Talk about how the content and images in advertising today are different from those when you were young. Compare how you’ve seen advertising evolve since she was a baby. How might this change even more in the future?
The ability to think critically is one of the best life skills you can teach your child. Kids are exposed to more advertising now than ever before. It’s important for them to be able to analyze an advertising message and determine whether or not it’s true.