Children’s content advocate and rating service Common Sense points out what many of us already realize – that many people tune in to the Super Bowl more for the commercials than the game. But some of them may be age inappropriate for children in the audience. It has tips for watching the game with kids.
For starters, it advises that children be steered clear of internet previews that are available of some of the commercials, particularly those with racier content. It notes that some come with director’s cuts that go much farther into risqué territory than would be possible on television.
In general, Common Sense advises parents to use the commercials as a learning experience. It stated, “Of course, some ads are entertaining — even innovative. But watching them with a critical eye helps your kids resist media messages you don’t want them to absorb.”
* Ask them what it is that is being advertised. It says that in many cases, particularly with children aged seven or younger, they may have no idea.
* Share facts that counter an ad’s sales pitch – if an advertiser is pushing greasy, condiment-drenched sandwiches, take the occasion to discuss healthy alternatives with your children.
* Provide general lessons in skeptical ad-watching. As Common Sense put it, “Give your kids some ad-proofing decoder tips: Ask them who they think created the ad and why they’re sending the messages they are. Who makes money from the ads? What tricks do your kids think the advertisers used to make them want to buy the products being promoted? Does an ad use a favorite celebrity? Does it have some feelings associated with the product — like happiness? What isn’t the ad telling them? No sign of nutritional information? Alcohol illegal for people under age 21? The featured video game costs a mint?”
* In general, help kids tell the difference between fantasy and reality in relation to the commercials being shown.
And perhaps the most important piece of advice is this: Be prepared to hit the mute button when a message comes on that you simply do not want your child to hear.