Hot off the press: The FTC has just launched a compelling website to teach tweens about how ads work -- in their language!
Barraged by relentless marketing intiatives, today's teens and tweens have trouble separating their needs from their wants. The Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection has realized just how vulnerable this segment of the population might be to sleazy marketers looking to prey on their allowances. To help combat this growing trend, they've just launched Admongo.gov to demystify the ad world for fourth, fifth and sixth graders -- and educate them about becoming savvier consumers. Scholastic has partnered with the Bureau in the distribution of materials, so students in more than a hundred thousand classrooms around the nation will soon be hip to what Admongo is -- and what it can do for them.
"Advertising to kids is nothing new," says David Vladeck, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "What is new is how connected kids are to technology. Many kids are plugged in to some kind of media for up to seven hours a day. Admongo draws from the expertise of child advocates, teachers and marketers alike and gives kids the tools they need."
As early as the first challenge, kids are asked to consider where ads come from, what they are actually saying and why they are being targeted.
"Admongo makes them question the messages they get," says Oscar Ramirez, a teacher at the Oyster-Adams Bilingual School in Washington, DC. "There are many juicy, teachable elements embedded in [the Admongo] activities. It teaches critical thinking skills that are relevant to many areas. Students can transfer the predictive and critical skills they learn here when they read a poem or a novel or a history book."
Hey, if you ask us, kids are never too young to be encouraged to question the world around them. (Especially if those questions help curb the "gimmes.")
"If you live near the beach, you have two choices," says C. Lee Peeler, president and CEO of the National Advertising Review Council. "You can try to build barriers to keep your kids from the water. Or you can teach them to swim. We do both. And Admongo provides a great education in basic swimming."
Check it out and let us know what you think right here!