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Helping Children Understand the Truth About Advertising
The Superbowl is approaching, and along with the hype of the anticipated game, comes the excitement associated with the Superbowl commercials that will be aired during the broadcast. Companies will use creative means to present their products and services in the hopes that consumers will buy and utilize them. Many children and teenagers will view these commercials and therefore, it is important for parents to be aware of the mixed messages being portrayed to youth by companies who are advertising their products.
One of the lesson topics in the Protecting You, Protecting Me (PYPM) alcohol use prevention program that I facilitate for grades K-5, explains the purpose of commercials and advertisements to children. While these ads and commercials provide information about products that companies sell, children learn that they do not disclose everything that consumers need to know. The reason for this includes that commercials and advertisements are very expensive to make, so they tell the viewer only what will make him or her buy the product. Children learn that some ads and commercials try to make products sound better than they are, in the hope that the potential consumer of the product will find it that much more appealing and buy it. In the PYPM lesson (for grade 3 students) entitled, “Getting the Word Out: What Commercials Don’t Tell Us”, children become aware that commercials about beer and other drinks with alcohol in them do not warn of the dangers of alcohol for people under 21 years of age. They create their own ads that tell young people what ads for beer and drinks with alcohol in them omit.
Many children and teenagers will view commercials during the Superbowl where alcohol beverages are presented. For information about the strategies alcohol companies use to entice youth during Superbowl commercials, please visit: