For parents, this time of year can feel like walking through a minefield, with ads, decorations and music all aimed at getting kids excited about the holidays. Every year children eagerly ask Santa for the “hottest,” “must-have” toys – and then turn that “pester power” on their parents. Of course, few parents want to be Grinches – we all want to make our children happy – but there can be a middle ground between giving in to pester power and canceling the holidays altogether. Here are some tips on how to control holiday consumerism:
The Internet provides marketers with many opportunities to elicit personal information from children. Kids love playing on the Web, and commercial sites for children are continually ranked as top online destinations.
Many preschoolers are already active computer users. According to a 2012 Ofcom report, one-third of children ages 3-4 access the Internet using a computer, while a 2011 survey by Common Sense Media found that roughly the same number have used mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. While children at this age have a limited attention span for online activities, Internet images and sounds can stimulate their imaginations and add to their experiences.
MediaSmarts asked Canadian teens attending a Digital Youth Summit what they do to make the online world better for everyone. Here’s what they said:
Welcome to the interactive game for children – Privacy Playground: The First Adventure of the Three CyberPigs. The purpose of this game is to teach eight-to-ten-year-old children how to surf safely on the Net, and particularly how to spot and navigate around Internet marketing ploys.
On the Loose: A Guide to Online Life for Post-Secondary Students supports young adults who are experiencing both new freedoms and challenges in their post- secondary life.
This Teacher’s Guide includes background information, learning expectations and points of discussion on the types of personal information and privacy-management strategies that are presented in the game. The guide also includes an overview of the Data Defenders game, and exercises and handouts to help students to develop skills and confidence to manage their privacy online.
The Data Defenders game teaches children and pre-teens about personal information and its value, and introduces them to the different ways they can manage and protect their personal information on the websites and apps they enjoy.