Tips for Parents
Parents can be proactive in educating their kids about the effects of advertising.
by Focus on the Family
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.