If you are concerned about the degree to which young children are increasingly the target of advertising and marketing because of the amount of money they spend, the influence they have on their parents’ spending (the nag factor) and because of the money they will spend when they grow up, then please consider the urgency of addressing this problem when children are in preschool and kindergarten.
We need to support (engage and vigorously exercise) children’s natural-born abilities to think, to reason, to distinguish truth from lies.
We must consistently encourage children’s natural born curiosity to question everything and everyone, because at one point in their lives it will be critically important that they question politicians’ and marketers’ motivations and promises.
It is our responsibility not so much to lecture as help to switch on kids’ own awareness about the dangerous assumptions that skew perception – everyone’s: yours, mine and theirs. Trickiest of all, today’s youth needs to be able to recognize the difference between charisma and substance – as well as the unique impact of each.
Ask the kinds of questions that get kids’ minds stretching in directions that go beyond the obvious. Sharing insights and values with kids is a big part of our responsibility to them … but, for their true ownership of the values that will best serve them throughout their lives, we need to be repeatedly sparking their intelligence with the right kinds of questions that invite meaningful discussions and open the way to expression of their own personal insights and wisdom. (It’s never too early to start with this approach.)