A Conscious Parent’s Resource Guide to Unbranding, Media Literacy and Raising an Unconsumer
- Center for Media Literacy
- ACME Coalition Action Coalition for Media Education
- Media Education Foundation: Commercialism and Childhood Series (many movies in the series are linked below)
- Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood
- Corporate Babysitter (blog from “Parents for Ethical Marketing”)
- Born To Buy: The Commercialized Child and the Consumer Culture
- Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters from Marketer’s Schemes
- Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with Mass Media
- Consuming Kids
Articles and Posts
- The Making of a Media Literate Mind (Rob Williams, Mothering Magazine, 2004)
- ABC’s of Media Literacy: What Can Pre-schoolers Learn? (Faith Rogow, Telemedium: the Journal of Media Literacy, Spring 2002)
- Brands R Us: How Advertising Works (Stephen Garey, Media and Values, Issue #51, 1990)
- The Century of the Self (4 part series – click red “watch film now” button for full screen)
- Consuming Kids – (Low-resolution full length preview; available at many university libraries)
- Generation M: Misogyny in Media and Culture (Low-resolution full length preview; available at many university libraries)
- The Production of Meaning (Adbusters DVD on YouTube)
- Mickey Mouse Monopoly
- Captive Audience: Advertising Invades the Classroom
- Affluenza (Links to PBS site section on 1997 consumption documentary. Watch full length on YouTube, or on Netflix)
- Escape from Affluenza (Links to PBS site section on Affluenza’s companion video. Actual movie may only be located with librarian’s assistance)
Teaching Tools for Media Literacy Education – For Parents and Educators Alike!
The following section presents media literacy teaching tools for young children. Many of the links are drawn from PBS. PBS’ website has a great range of tools and guides for teaching media literacy to young children. Unfortunately, many of them are connected to…. you guessed it… heavily branded children’s shows. The following links are from various sources, but those from PBS were selected from a larger list because the materials were either presented in an unbranded environment, or could easily be adapted to be presented separately from a branded show. If you are interested in viewing a more full list of media literacy links from PBS, which includes branded ones, look here.
General Guidelines for Teaching Media Literacy
Great ideas and suggestions, like putting a towel over the television to help the child(ren) focus on the sounds, or muting the volume to help them focus on the images.
5 Key Questions that Form Foundation of Media Literacy (Center for Media Literacy Video Overview, by the Media Education Foundation)
Tools for Young Children (6 and under)
ABC’s of Media Literacy: What Can Pre-schoolers Learn? (Faith Rogow, Telemedium: the Journal of Media Literacy, Spring 2002)
Center for Media Literacy: Key Questions to Guide Young Children (in Media Literacy)
“The techniques used in selling breakfast cereal include some of the most obvious packaging and promotional ploys used in marketing.” This project acts as a way for children to deconstruct the advertising tricks being used.
A game for one or more players
What are people trying to sell you?
Wherever you are, take a look around. Do you see any advertisements? How many do you see? What are they selling? Try to keep track of how many you see in one hour, or one day. Adults and kids can discuss what the ads mean, and how companies try to sell things. Find how many logos you can find on your own clothes-logos are advertising, too!
Talk with your child about TV ads he or she likes or remembers. (See Talk About It for ideas.) What parts of the ad grabbed your child’s attention: the music, the action, the cartoon characters or actors, a catchy jingle or slogan? Invite your child to make his or her own TV commercial about a favorite toy or stuffed animal, describing why it is the best, and making kids everywhere want to own one just like it. Your child may want to make up a song or jingle as part of the ad, or just choose some cool background music.
Make a “TV set” by cutting the bottom out of a large cardboard box, leaving a thin cardboard frame around the edge. This will be the “TV screen.” (Your child may enjoy decorating the cardboard TV with markers, stickers, et cetera.) Turn the box on its side so your child can perform his or her TV ad. Other family members might want to take turns performing their original TV ads, too.
—– Other Suggestions on the Page —-
As you watch TV with your child, help your child notice the difference between ads and programs. How quickly can you and your child figure out what an ad is trying to sell? What parts of the ad made it appealing: the music, the action, the cartoon characters or actors, a catchy jingle or slogan? Remind your child that the people on commercials are actors whose job is to say the lines the ad writers write. For toy advertisements, talk about what really comes in the box, how big it is, and what it can do. (Often advertisements will show a toy in combination with other toys or props.)
Tools for Older Children (6+)