talk about it more

a virtual baby book

When she was two, Fiona regularly said "Talk about it more!" to express her desire to know more about whatever we were discussing.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Media literacy @ our library

Our family just attended the "Buy Me That" media literacy workshop at a library branch this afternoon. Based on the PBS Kids Don't Buy It website, the program helped participants to challenge and question advertising, evaluate media, and even create their own. At the end of the program each child became a food-stylist-in-training and smeared peanut butter onto a saltine as artfully as possible to get it ready for a photo shoot.

It was eerily telling to watch a group which included at least a handful of pre-readers try to figure out what, exactly, various magazine ads were actually attempting to sell. Happiness? Fun? Mother-daughter playtime? Oh-- Levi jeans. . . at WalMart. One ad which completely stymied the magazine-holder was for a theological seminary. I wish I had seen the ad but that child was across the room. What did it look like?

I think some of the conversation was over Fiona's head, but not only is she quite young, she's also relatively sheltered at this point in her life. She doesn't watch regular TV, we skip the previews on her few preselected DVDs , and she largely uses magazines for cutting things out, not for shopping of any kind. I'm not sure it has ever occurred to her that people actually EAT all those kinds of cereal in the grocery aisle! I know she has never considered asking for any. Yet...

But marketing is everywhere, and it is not our object to protect her from all of it-- just to arm her with the information needed to be an informed consumer regarding the inundation of messages she's receiving when she sees and hears them in her daily life. For us, this means regular open dialogue and many, many questions. Some of them are actually quite thorny.


At 1:44 AM, Blogger MommyKnows said...

The advertising that our children are exposed to is irritating to say the least.



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