Advice on how to communicate to kids about advertising

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Masked-up kids may struggle to communicate. Here's how to help.

Today’s youngsters have become the most marketable generation in history due to their purchasing power and potential effect as adult consumers. By discussing how advertising works and gets targeted, we can help young people become more informed consumers and less susceptible to the pressures to be “cool.” Here are some suggestions about how to approach advertising with youngsters, according to Gurbaksh Chahal.

  • Begin while you’re young.

Children have difficulties differentiating advertising from reality until they are six or seven years old, and they may not realize that adverts get meant to sell anything. Advertising is often more appealing to youngsters watching television than the programs themselves! Early discussion of advertising with children promotes them to become active, rather than passive, consumers of commercial messages.

  • Describe the advertising process.

Discuss how marketers prey on our vulnerabilities by crafting advertisements that indicate their items would enhance our lives and make us happier. Make a list of the things in your child’s life (the things you value) and then a list of the things you wish you could afford. Compare and contrast the “real life” and “wish” lists. Do they believe the items on their wish list will make them happy? If so, what’s the reasoning behind it?

  • Assist your children in spotting advertisements in their environment.

Branding may get found in public places, stadiums, schools, and even our clothing, according to Gurbaksh Chahal. Make your kids aware of brand awareness commercials they encounter so they can detect them in more subtle circumstances, such as product placements in TV shows and movies.

  • Make a list of the gimmicks.

Explain how advertisers utilize techniques to persuade us to purchase their goods. Employing deceptive terms like “the taste of real…,” “studies have shown,” and “for a limited time only”; making exaggerated promises about a product; and using cartoon characters or celebrities to market items or brand names are some “tricks of the trade.”

  • Describe how marketers target teenagers.

Look for examples of how marketers develop brand loyalty among youngsters. Show how the premiere of a new children’s film gets frequently preceded by a massive marketing effort that includes tie-in toys, fast food, apparel, and books. Explain how image-conscious pre-teens and adolescents get targeted by marketers with messages about being “cool” and attractive.

  • In advertising, talk about gender and body image concerns.

Ads usually promote unrealistic and unhealthy body image in girls and boys and often have more racial or gender stereotyping than other media. Point out stereotyping in advertisements to your children and explain how it may be harmful to the individuals shown and how it might limit how we view them – and how they see themselves. Make sure your children understand that what they’re seeing is a dream, something created to promote a product, and that camera trickery and picture modification is frequently employed to make models fit the “perfect” body type.

  • Media and merchandise should be kept separate.

Many children’s television shows exist only to promote toys. Encourage your children to watch shows with the fewest marketing tie-ins and refrain from purchasing tie-in products.