Thinking and talking about the media with kids is something we as parents and teachers need to do early and often. Understanding the way advertisers cleverly craft messages to get us to buy their products not only helps us make informed choices and keeps us from running out to buy every next big thing, but it also helps kids understand the art of persuasive writing and speaking.
Next time you watch TV as a family, incorporate some critical thinking!
Next time you watch TV together, try this…
Ask your kids if they know about the main types of propaganda. Challenge them to watch TV with a critical eye and look for different types of propaganda.
Of course, commercials are the main focus for this, but watch for advertising and persuasive messaging within the shows themselves too.
Work together to point out questionable statements presented as fact. “Twelve Hour Energy is…” Kids can try to identify the comments that aren’t supported by facts that seem legit. (If you have noisemakers handy and you don’t have a headache, participants can even buzz or gong the fishy “facts.”) Talk about how you decide what to believe when you watch commercials or other shows on TV.
Finally, talk about times when it’s helpful to use these types of propaganda. When could they be used to strengthen our own writing or speaking? Try it out! Encourage the kids to make a convincing argument using one of their new tricks.