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How about trying to propaganda-proof kids? - Input Junkie
May 6th, 2015
03:18 pm

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How about trying to propaganda-proof kids?
There's persistent worry about people being recruited for islamist terrorism, and I admit that it seems to be unnervingly easy. There are efforts at counter-propaganda, and that's not a bad idea.

On the other hand, seeing this reminds me that people are pretty gullible in general. I think I believed a few of those false claims myself, like that GoLean might actually be healthy in some sense. I tried it and gave up on it because it had no flavor.

In any case, it would be a good idea to teach children to ask "what is this ad trying to get me to do?", "what evidence do they have for their claims?", and "what methods are they using to increase their emotional effect"?

I have heard of parents working to make their kids less vulnerable to ads, and I *think* I've heard of that sort of thing in schools. I didn't get it from either source, though I've ended up with a generalized disgust at advertising and I tend to think that anything which is heavily advertised is overpriced.

This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1067458.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.

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From:andrewducker
Date:May 6th, 2015 10:25 pm (UTC)
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Yeah. I think that the internet is making _some_ people better at this. The endless cries of "citation needed" and "correlation is not causation" seem to indicate that at least some people are taking this in :->
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From:xiphias
Date:May 6th, 2015 10:47 pm (UTC)
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In some cases. In other cases, they become shibboleths that people use to dismiss things that otherwise might challenge their preexisting beliefs.
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From:andrewducker
Date:May 7th, 2015 06:14 pm (UTC)
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True. But it still feels like a step in the right direction.
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From:xiphias
Date:May 7th, 2015 06:29 pm (UTC)
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That it does, and that it is.
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From:selenite
Date:May 7th, 2015 03:12 am (UTC)
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I haven't worried about ads much, mostly because we don't watch much with them. I do try to get in other resistance training. For example, I just showed the kids the "Space Seed" episode of Classic Trek. Watching Khan put the moves on Lt. McGivers was a great opportunity to explaining "negging" and other PUA techniques to my 12yo.
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From:lysystratae
Date:May 7th, 2015 03:34 am (UTC)
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My Social Science class taught us about various false advertising techniques (bait & switch, for example), but that was a class for kids who'd gotten poor grades in junior high. We even had spelling lessons.
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From:agrumer
Date:May 7th, 2015 07:17 am (UTC)
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“I tend to think that anything which is heavily advertised is overpriced”

How does that make sense?

I mean, some movies are overwhelmingly advertised, and some barely promoted at all, yet a given theater won’t charge extra for the advertised ones (unless they’re in 3D).

In general, the more heavily something is advertised, the larger the market is for it, and if it’s a manufactured product, it might well be cheaper than a non-advertised, small-batch equivalent.
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From:madfilkentist
Date:May 7th, 2015 10:23 am (UTC)
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Counter-propaganda doesn't improve people's thinking abilities if it's just claims or emotional appeals in the reverse direction. What's needed is to teach kids critical thinking in a way that encompasses all claims. This is tricky, because people trying to teach it tend to treat their own views as not needing careful examination.
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From:elenbarathi
Date:May 7th, 2015 07:53 pm (UTC)
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I taught it to my own child, and endeavored to teach it to my pupils - with varying success, I'm sure, depending on how enthralled their parents were by consumer culture. "Those children in the ads are actors - they're paid a lot of money to pretend that that game/toy/food/whatever is the Best Thing Ever."

It's very interesting to note how even kindergartners have tales to tell, of their disappointment on finding that the stuff they wanted so bad is actually crap. When my daughter was about 3, she saw a commercial for Lifesaver Jigglers, where the lifesavers come jiggling out of their package in a conga line. "Dancing candy!!!" One day her Dad finally bought her some, and she was crushed to learn that the darn things don't really dance! What a rip-off!

All commercials are for stuff nobody needs; stuff nobody would buy if it wasn't relentlessly hyped. The things people actually need, they will purchase without being told to. Therefore, anything you see advertised in a commercial is, by definition, something you don't need.

As for food? The ingredients are on the labels. From the time children are old enough to ask for things in the grocery store, one can read the labels aloud to them, and say "No, this isn't real food" or "No, this is toxic waste", or "Eww, I can't believe people actually eat this junk!", as occasion demands.
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From:madfilkentist
Date:May 8th, 2015 12:32 am (UTC)
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All commercials are for stuff nobody needs; stuff nobody would buy if it wasn't relentlessly hyped. The things people actually need, they will purchase without being told to.


That doesn't follow. I need food. Food is advertised, even though I'd buy food anyway. The reason it's advertised is that the seller wants me to buy their food. Also, I don't buy only things that I need, if by "need" you mean that I couldn't survive without it. Most of what I buy is for increased comfort and enjoyment, and I have to learn that it exists first and make choices among many options. Some advertising provides me useful information in deciding that. Sometimes it helps me to decide that the product is something that's not for me.
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From:elenbarathi
Date:May 8th, 2015 12:26 pm (UTC)
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Ah, but the commercials are not trying to sell you 'food' in general. You've never in your life seen a commercial that says "Buy FOOD! It's tasty and essential!" The people paying for the commercials don't want you to go out and purchase a lot of fresh fruit, vegetables, grains, fish, meat, oils and spices - viz. 'food' - they want you to buy their commercially prepared and packaged products.

You do not need those products, and in fact, a lot of them are bad for you. Millions of people eat very well without ever buying any of the alleged foods advertised on television.

Of course, I wouldn't know what's advertised on television these days, because I haven't had television in my house since 1998. I have other ways than the commercial media to find out what exists, and other criteria than ad-copy upon which to base my choices.

As I mentioned above, I believe the best method of deciding whether a prepared food-product is or is not for me, is to read the label.

(In case you're wondering, yes, I do eat commercial fast food. I acknowledge that it's unhealthy, unsustainable and over-priced, and that my eating it is a bad habit which I certainly do not need, and would do very well to give up. I also acknowledge that in spite of those truths, I'm probably not going to give it up, because I'm no smarter a monkey than the rest of my species.)
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