A is for Advergame; B is for Banner…

Children today are growing up in a digital society. They will never know what it was like living in a world without the internet or mobile devices. They are digital savvy and their distinction between offline and online worlds increasingly blurs by the day. But being media savvy is not the same as being media literate.

Leading child psychologist Professor Tanya Byron, in her report to the UK Government “Safer Children in a Digital World”, concluded: “We must empower our children to take ownership of their safe and responsible digital behaviour.” Her report talked of the importance of information and education for children and parents. Industry is well placed to deliver this and today sees the launch of a national programme – Digital Adwise – to raise children’s awareness of digital advertising. The not-for-profit programme, aimed at 6-11 year olds, comprises a free set of lessons allowing kids to critically evaluate digital advertising in a fun way – for example there are some interactiveactivities such as “tag the ad” and “ad maker” – and there’s helpful support information for teachers, such as examples from the IAB’s Creative Showcase. The initiative builds upon the successful MediaSmart programme about television, radio and print advertising, now being used by 38% of UK primary schools. The new materials will also be available to all primary schools.

At an event in London yesterday evening to mark the launch of the programme, Creative Industries Minister, Sion Simon, spoke of the importance of “topical and cutting edge media literacy that teachers want and children can relate to”. He concluded that the whole advertising industry should get behind the initiative, promote it and ensure its success. The IAB agrees and we should all help to spread the message.

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