FTC wants tweens to think critically about advertising

ftc tries to educate kids about advertising Tweens can now create their own avatar inside a neon, virtual world of media advertising to learn what ads are all about.

The Federal Trade Commission wants tweens -- those kids between the ages of 9 and 12 -- to understand the flashy, roaring advertisements that pop up between episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants and iCarly. An "Ad-ucation" for these pre-adolescents aims to get kids to think critically and become smarter consumers through the government site Admongo.gov.

The site has its curriculum linked to national standards of language arts and social studies, a fictional ad library that can be used as a teaching tool and activities for parents and students to work on together. The FTC wants tweens to notice advertising messages are common and abundant, even while listening to Pandora online radio or playing video games.

"Today's kids see advertising everywhere -- in movies and TV shows, outdoors, on phones, in games," David C. Vladeck, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection said in a released statement. "That's why it's important to teach them how to apply critical thinking skills to the ads they see. The resources at Admongo.gov help kids figure out who's responsible for ads, what ads are saying, and what ads want their target audiences to do."

The site explains that advertising is everywhere and inescapable. Children can develop their own avatar and take on four levels in the game that question advertising and its uses. The first level, "The Atrium," asks the player to recognize the surrounding ads. The second level, "Assemblimator," teaches how to evaluate an ad's claims and what the persuasion is in a message. The third level, "Planadtarium," tells how advertising targets certain people based on demographic. The fourth level "The Adgitator," teaches kids how to create their own ads.

The Federal Trade Commission works to prevent deception, fraud and unfair business practices.
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