What are your top tips for avoiding the impact of ads on your family?

A 'Fairy Liquid' advert in a Bob the Builder Mag - this formed part of my Ethics module project on the Commercialisation of Childhood

Mothers’ Union are working on their commericalisation of childhood campaign and will soon be producing a resource to help families understand and navigate the commercialisation of childhood. But they want the practical experiences of the impact advertising has on the children in your family, and how you handle them, so that they’re not just spouting theory, but offering practical, lived out ideas that work and will help stop others feeling overwhelmed by the impact of the commercial world!

So what are your

  • top tips for dealing (in a practical way) with the influence of marketing and advertising on the children in your family; and/or
  • Scenarios when you or the children in your family are particularly influenced by marketing or advertising?

Mothers’ Union are looking for ideas to be submitted by the end of July, and I am personally hoping this material will appear well before the pre-Christmas spending spree to beat the new VAT rate in the New Year. If you use the ‘comment’ facility on this blog, I will pass all ideas to our Social Policy Unit at Mothers’ Union.



    • That sounds useful… an internet search reveals MythTV is opensource software (I shouldn’t be surprised really should I?)… erm, for your average technophobe parent, please explain simply how it would work, and on what – computer or modern TV I presume, not my steam driven lump in the corner 🙂 ?


      • Chris later told me via Twitter what MythTV does: “basically it records the program using a TV card in your computer and at the end it searches for indications of adverts” – sounds really neat.


  1. Avoidance:
    1. Our daughters are allowed to watch CBeebies and CBBC only. These channels don’t have ads.

    2. We use adblock on the computer so very few ads are seen when they are playing on the computer.

    We have always explained the meaning of ads at a suitable level, i.e. ‘People want you to buy their stuff so that they make money. The ads are there to make you want to buy it. Will X really make you happier? Don’t let someone else make your mind up for you.’

    As neither Jerry or I are big consumers and certainly not follower of the latest ‘in thing’ we aren’t very susceptible and so our home is fairly ad free.


  2. It seems a long time ago now … but I think the line we took from as soon as the children started watching TV was to begin to teach them what advertisements were about, and help them to “read” adverts. So they were soon coming up with comments about the adverts rather that what was being promoted. And we tried never to respond to adverts at all – I think that is the only way in the end. No point in nagging Mum to buy someting you saw advertised if you know that if you let out that you want it because you saw an advert, that is the best way to make sure mum will *never* buy it!!
    And as previous posters have said – we watched mainly BBC as no/fewer adverts.


  3. So what about us?

    Well, to start with no TV in the bedroom – there is simply one family TV in the house.

    From early years I remember we have joked with our son when the adverts come on; “what a lot of things we don’t need” is the laughing litany. Then there’s the competition to spot dubbed adverts and laugh at how silly it looks, and the art of finding a much easier solution to whatever issue/problem the advert is trying to solve. Some things the menfolk, young and old, just find ugly – so i won’t be buying enhanced gloss lipstick or dying my hair blond!

    We’ve also tried to instil the recognition that a perfectly respectable pair of trainers need not come with a trendy logo (etc.) and the lad says we generally make jokes and sarcastic comments about the content, like ‘luscious macademia oil’ (or similar on the Timotei ads – apparently!)

    According to a school teacher who recently took our 13 year old to Normandy, the lad is old beyond his years – but isn’t that better than being prey to all the advertising pressure in the world?


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