Keeping our Teens Drug and Alcohol Free

From Rules to Independence: Taking on Digital Advertising

If you are concerned about your child’s online exposure to ads and images glorifying unhealthy and risky behaviors, consider re-framing the conversation by taking yourself and your values out of the equation. Help your child see how advertisers are manipulating them and their beliefs.

Here is a sample conversation from Behavioral Economist Dan Ariely:

I have a 12-year-old son. Last week I looked at his social media accounts and was shocked to see how many ads and solicitations he received. I’ve already talked to my son about more serious internet dangers, but how can I teach him to resist the pressure to throw away money online?

Instead of telling your child how these solicitations conflict with your values as a parent, try pointing out how they conflict with his or her values. A 2016 study by behavioral scientist Christopher Bryan et al. found that adolescents could be convinced to avoid unhealthy snacks by framing it as a way of standing up against the deceptive advertising practices of junk food companies. Similarly, asking your child to take a stand against manipulative online solicitations will help him/her feel that they’re striking a blow for independence rather than obeying a parental rule.

Source: Wall Street Journal, September 3, 2020.

It’s not one 60-minute conversation.
It’s 60 one-minute conversations.