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PBS Tells Kids "Don't Buy It!"

PBS Tells Kids "Don't Buy It!"

Don't Buy It let's kids create their own cereal boxes and advertising campaigns, teaching them that the very purpose of advertising is to deceive people.

November 7, 2007 —

In 2002, PBS Kids launched Don't Buy It, a media awareness site aimed at children as young as eight. The site is filled with colorful and fun interactive games that teach kids how think critically about products and advertising.  But do young children really have to learn about something as complex and confusing marketing?

Several years ago, a British market research firm estimated that one in four children speak brand names as their first recognizable words. While it's doubtful that there's very much advertising out there geared directly toward children less than one year of age, the finding is indicative how the developing mind of a child reacts in a brand-saturated world.

Advertisers have known this for over a half-century. From automobiles, to cigarettes, to military service, marketing for nearly every product that we associate with the passage into adulthood begins with ads geared toward children and adolescents. Add to that the billions of dollars spent every year trying to convince children to beg their parents to buy things for them, and it becomes clear that Madison Avenue is just as concerned with your child's attention as it is with yours.

It is necessary to teach kids to be media savvy at a fairly early age not only to get them to stop nagging you about worthless $25 pieces of plastic, but so that they can be empowered consumers by the time they have their own money to spend.


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