Tips for Parents

  • Explain to children that advertising’s purpose is to get someone to spend money, no matter what.
  • Question the claims that marketers make about their products.
  • Conduct blind taste tests at home to see if products are what commercials say they are.
  • Watch noncommercial television, or record programs so your family can watch shows by fast-forwarding through ads. If you like watching live TV, mute the sound when commercials appear.
  • Define shopping as a necessary task, not a hobby or pastime.
  • Remind your children that many kids have few toys or clothes. Make donations of excess possessions to bless others.
  • Develop hobbies or activities for your kids so they’re not often hanging out at the mall, watching television or staring at a computer screen.
  • As their comprehension increases, help kids understand that most everything viewed on TV is a construction of reality influenced by the biases and financial interests of those who design it.
  • Make sure your kids recognize “product placement,” which occurs when a product appears in a TV show or movie because a company has paid for it to be there.
  • Acknowledge that adult products are sometimes advertised on kid TV. Teach children which commercials to ignore.
  • Practice money management with your kids. Help them distinguish needs from wants, as well as priorities from desires.
  • Teach what strategies marketers are using at different times. If children become active ad watchers rather than passive viewers, they’ll be more equipped to make wise decisions in the future.
  • Supervise Internet time. Guard your kids from giving out personal information in surveys or contests. Read Web site privacy policies. You may even want ad-filtering software on your computer.
  • Remember, what kids need most is your time and undivided attention, not money or material goods.

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