Advertising is a multi-million pound business and our kids are surrounded by adverts all the time on websites, on TV, on billboards, in magazines as well as in films as product placements, on buses, buildings, and scoreboards. The power of a celebrity endorsement is very potent to young people. Just think of Cheryl Cole’s pulling power !

Tweens have their own money to spend, and parent surveys report that children play an important role in their family buying decisions. Because kids are an important part of the marketplace, they often are the targets of advertising and marketing programmes. The result is that kids see ads wherever they go.

So have you ever talked with your kids about the way marketing affects them and the way companies are manipulating them? It could be a good lesson to teach them helping them become more discerning consumers of information and able to see beyond the marketing messages. 

Many ads target kids ages 8 to 12. Do your kids have the critical thinking skills to understand ads, what they’re saying, and what they want your kids to do?

Here are three key “critical thinking” questions when they encounter advertising to get you started:

• Who is responsible for the ad?

• What is the ad actually saying?

• What does the ad want you to buy, do, or think?

If you are interested in teaching your children about the power of advertising take a look at this great game by Media Smart called ” Be A Top Advertising Guru”  where you and your kids can playa fun game that gets them thinking and getting an insight into the world of advertising.

The game explains how to market everything from mobile phones to charities. Schoolchildren will earn points if their advertising campaign gets a positive review or if it is shortlisted for a reward, but suffer if the marketing budget is cut or the product packaging is bad.