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Parents Should Focus On Digital Literacy to Improve Health and Finances

Updated: Feb 20, 2021

CNN reporter, Ryan Prior, recently published an article in October about the push for tougher limits on influencer marketing to kids by the American Academy of Pediatrics and others. After reviewing almost 500 YouTube videos by children ages three and fourteen, researchers found that almost 200 of those videos promoted toys and unhealthy snacks to other kids.

Photo by Tanaphong Toochinda

The Policy Statement by the AAP released in July 2020 further indicated that "parents from lower-income backgrounds were more likely to place credence in the learning value of apps marketed as educational for their young children, despite a lack of evidence-based data for most such products."

Also problematic, the statement shares that the University of Connecticut Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity determined Black, Hispanic, and low-income communities are the primary recipients for targeted ads containing fast food and sugary snacks or beverages.

Parents of children in these communities stand to be in better position to invest in their own children by limiting the transactions made to companies that intentionally aim to keep them unhealthy and forking over their potential wealth.

By taking the time to read through terms and conditions for web use as well as cookie policies, parents and child care providers can prevent some companies from specifically targeting their children for pointless products that only serve to fatten the bank accounts of someone else's kid, as well as food that ensures a harder time being physically or mentally competitive.

Photo By Sven Brandsma

Companies have gotten smarter about using children such as Ryan, Jillian and Addie, Bee, and Naya & Ellie, to name a few to make parents think their child is watching an educational video when, in fact, their child is being manipulated into believing that being a kid is all about new toy surprises, outfits, and candy combinations if they do not have the correct guidance.

Many of these new toys cost upwards of $200-$300 to purchase as Christmas and Birthday presents. Many parents unknowingly take money that they could be saving for their own child to continue financing these already wealthy children for a weekly video upload by buying a young Tuber's merchandise.

The efforts by company sponsors are not lost on older children and young adults, either. According to the statement, people under 21 or 18 are increasingly being bombarded on Youtube with ads for tanning services, alcohol consumption, vaping and tobacco, and marijuana.

Parents should also coach their children to understand the difference between learning and marketing. While it is not detrimental to support companies or artists that are providing a service or lasting impact through goods, parents should be able to walk their child through why some purchases are not a good deal.

Substituting a better product or better price when declining unhealthy options, both financially and physically, help children and younger adults to develop awareness about how they can have more money to be productive later and with less health expenses.

Photo by Mathieu

First parents and guardians must limit their own reliance upon placing too much value in anything that monopolizes their time and their bank accounts. Relying on entertainment

Children and young people will always want more or the next new thing, but carefully prioritizing better meals over bad ones or products that will last for several years rather than those that are trendy, can not only help children to succeed and have more resources because of money saved and better health, but their parents as well.

It would particularly serve those Black, Hispanic, and low-income families who are most being targeted for bad foods and useless toys to achieve their promise of the American dream by using hyper-vigilence about whether they continue to fund someone else's first.