Teaching Kids to Recognize Advertising

19871384_mIf your kids are online one of the first things they need to learn is how to spot advertising. Online ads can be very deceptive and sometimes even experienced internet users are fooled or accidently click on an ad and find themselves regretting it. Then danger of internet ads goes beyond messages you may not want your child exposed to. Some ads download viruses or malware to your computer. Teach your child how to recognize advertisements, and to never click on them.

What to Look for

There are certain tell-tale signs that you and your children should learn to recognize, to avoid being tricked by online ads.

  • Pop-ups – windows that open on the screen unexpectedly.
  • Contests, the word “win”, or an announcement saying “You’re a winner!” If your child is playing a game this can be especially confusing, so spend some time on the computer with your child helping them understand how to spot the differences between legitimate in-game announcements, and deceptive ads.
  • Anything that gives a price or says “free”.
  • Shaky windows, flashing text, and strobe effects.
  • Anything that says “download” or “download now”. Your child should always check with you or another adult before downloading anything until guidelines have been established and you feel sure that your child can tell the difference between safe and questionable downloads.
  • Pictures of products, such as candy or toys.
  • Topics or images that do not fit, such as weight loss or online gambling.
  • The words “ad”, “advertisement”, “paid”, or “sponsored link”. It may seem obvious, but this is something you need to sit down and show your child how to spot. Once they get the hang of it they will recognize these easily.