Heather and I had a wonderful week in Media Literacy with your kids last week. Together we learned ways to be wise and mindful around all the advertisements that surround us. Experts estimate that the average young person in America is exposed to 2000-5000 advertisements each day. Most advertisers hope to succeed by making us feel that our lives are not yet good enough--we need another product to make us feel complete. Our hope was to give each Peace Village camper an age-appropriate tool for making sense of the advertisements each day brings. Here are the skills we taught; we encourage you to continue these conversations at home.
For the 6-7 year-olds we focused on being able to tell the difference between wants and needs. We played games to practice this skill, and each camper brought home a Wants/Needs necklace to help them think about ads they see: is this product a want or a need?
For the 8-11 year-olds we deconstructed advertisements. We learned to think about ads as stories that advertisers tell. We asked these questions:
For the 12-13 year-olds we focused on body image and values: our values vs. the values in advertisements. We brainstormed the qualities we like to see in the men and women in our lives (parents, teachers, our future selves, our future spouses, aunts/uncles). Then we looked at images of men and women in ads. We compared the qualities we saw there with our own list. Hmmm. We saw some big differences in the two lists. Each camper went home with a Message in a Bottle amulet that contains a list of the values campers want to keep closest to their hearts.
Here are some links that you may find helpful as you continue talking with your kids about ads.
Here's a short, powerful video from Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty
Kids (and adults) love to see this. A great conversation starter.
Here's a fun site for kids from PBS about truth in advertising
Here are a few more helpful sites to browse through:
Common Sense Media
Thanks so much for sharing your children with us last week. They are beautiful people! Debra Pennington-Davis
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