Educating Child Consumers

There is no mistake that today we are in a consumer society. In order to participate in the world, we have to spend, we have to purchase. What does this mean for our children? Can we make them understand that the purpose of the advertisements they see is to get them to buy? When can parents and teachers start raising media citizens, who are aware of the context of what they are seeing and question what they see?

Most people encourage children to be curious about their world, to ask questions, to learn, but advertising is oddly absent from that realm. There was a push in the 1960’s and 70’s to eliminate all advertising from children’s media. Obviously, that didn’t happen, so what can we do about it? The media needs advertising to survive on the scale that it does. It’s not going anywhere anytime soon, so we need to provide our children with the context. I’m not saying explain the inner workings of the advertising industry and media production. What I am saying is that we have a responsibility to encourage our children to look at media with a critical eye, to expand their world. The media has an amazing ability to expand the world of our children, but it is our responsibility to provide the context and discussion. Starting that early, can help to eliminate the passive audience.

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