Learning Tip: Not So Hidden Persuaders
By Susan Dichter
Ever notice how that cereal with the very high sugar content comes in a box decorated with lovable cartoon characters? Or how, once she's seen ten ads about it, your child must have this month's fad—high in price and low in challenge? Yes Virginia, it's a conspiracy of sorts. However, there are ways to fight back and open your child's eyes as well as her mind. Here are two ways:
- They're a small investment, but it's worth it. Buy two versions of the same product, a name brand and the generic or supermarket equivalent. Offer your child a blind taste test: which did she prefer? If the name brand does not win out (and at least half the time it will not), then what does that say about the choices she makes? Can she think of another way to make decisions?
- Ask your child to create her own commercial for her favorite classroom subject or book. Go over her work with her—what has she emphasized? Left out? Why? Once she begins to think about what she did in order to "sell" her product, she'll be less gullible and more thoughtful about advertisers' claims.
Susan Dichter wears many hats—mother, writer, former teacher, museum director, and librarian; her books include Teachers: Straight Talk from the Trenches.
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