Do you believe everything you see? | The Life of K: Do you believe everything you see?

Friday, June 9, 2017

Do you believe everything you see?

It hit me how easily my kids believe everything I tell them. Kids don't get irony or sarcasm and take everything at face value. As a parent, it's my job to teach them and I take my job very seriously. If I don't know the answer to one of their (seemingly endless) questions, I say so. I would rather leave them without an answer than tell them something wrong. My dad told me that brown cows make chocolate milk and I was embarrassingly old when I thought to question that statement. 



Now that my kids are out in the world - at school, at friends' houses, at sports and activities - they're learning from a lot of different people, and not only in typical learning environments. Our kids are constantly taking everything in. At our house, the radio is always on and I'm surprised when my kids start singing along to songs or talking about products they've heard about on the radio.

More recently they started watching videos on YouTube, and often I hear them talking about the ads that show at the beginning and sometimes in the middle of videos. We don't have cable TV with the formal advertising, but my kids still see and hear ads throughout the day. And that doesn't count things they hear at school and from friends.

They are only starting to understand the difference between the ads and programs, something this article by Ottawa Public Health points out, and now my job as parent has evolved to include conversations about advertising. The marketing is so clever that my kids often want whatever toy they saw or they want to enter a contest they heard on the radio. 



It's not a problem yet because at 6 and 7 my kids tend to want what their friends have, the latest being fidget spinners, but what happens when the ads they see start influencing the food they want or make them want to drink or try drugs? Maybe I'm being naive and they're already being influenced. Either way, I hope that our conversations about advertising will guide them in the future.      

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Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by The City of Ottawa - Ottawa Public Health. For more information on marketing to youth, please visit Ottawa Public Heath. All opinions are my own.

6 comments:

  1. I have noticed that my kids are definitely influenced by what they see. It's a conversation we have often. I also reiterate that they can ask us ANY questions or tell us anything without fear of getting in trouble.

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    1. My parents always said that too but I know I hit an age and stopped going to them.

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  2. There might be a silver lining then to having an extreme picky stubborn child. If i tell her the origin is from a vegetable and that its super healthy then its guaranteed to deter her from ever trying any of that shit like ever!

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    1. OMG too funny! Sorry babe, weed is a PLANT. Vodka is made from POTATOES.

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  3. Ack, I hate the youtube ads. My kids are young, 5 and 3, and so far I just say 'ick, it's an ad, this ocmpany wants us to buy things and they are trying to waste our time' and it's enough my kids get on board but as they get older I think I'm going to be more serious about using dvds, talking about marketing and also shielding form what I consider harmful stuff, as marketing to kids is insidious and so effective. Limit exposure where possible and talk talk talk about options and choices and who is making your decisions for you. Mostly theoretical for me at this point though... Marianne

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    1. "They want us to buy things" is something we say all the time. I think that's wording the kids understand. My worry is the marketing that's subtle so they don't realize that they only want *whatever* because of marketing.

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