2012 Higher Love

Parent Well in our Digital World

Gloria DeGaetano

Parent Well in our Digital World – The Unconscious Effects of Advertising

Part One: Guest Interview

Gloria, founder of The Parent Coaching Institute, and author of Parenting Well in a Media Age, talks with Douglas Gentile, Ph.D., Associate Professor at Iowa State University. Douglas Gentile is a developmental psychologist, an award-winning research scientist, educator, author, and one of the world’s leading experts on the effects of mass media on children, adolescents, and adults.

Did you know that the first 28 seconds of a 30 second commercial is used to set a very specific mood, to make us feel happy, relaxed, or maybe even jealous of those fabulous looking people we are watching? Advertisers knows how to engage our unconscious minds and our most primal feelings so that we are much more receptive to their messages. We are literally unconsciously driven to want their product from a deep feeling level. Rationality? Logic? Forget them. In fact, often the actual product being sold doesn’t appear until the last 5-10 seconds, as if an after thought.

Check out commercials with your kids sometime. While you watch, count the number of seconds until the product appears and then discuss what mood the images were aiming for. You can make the unconscious ploys more conscious for your kids. If you would like a free copy of Gloria’s 20 page resource guide: 100 Family Media Literacy Activities, just e-mail info@thepci.org with subject line: 100 Activities and you will receive engaging, fun activities like this for talking with kids of all ages about commercials and other content areas such as screen stereotypes and media violence.

In this podcast, Dr. Douglas Gentile discusses a few of the fascinating “psychological tricks” advertisers use, along with ways to arm our kids against their harmful effects. An engaging speaker as well as a respected scientist, Dr. Gentile has spent many years researching this topic. He has a wise and balanced approach to media issues and gives this cogent advice to parents: “Compared to factors such as environment, genetic predisposition and experience, the mass media is the most controllable risk factor when it comes to the formation of children’s negative behaviors and parents have the most power to decide on how best to keep this risk factor in check.” Amen to that!

Part Two: The Parent Coaching Corner™

Gloria continues coaching Geri, a mom of three sons, ages 9, 11, and 13 about use of their digital devices. In this session (the third of 12 coaching sessions) Gloria explores the strengths of Geri’s wonderful boys to put all their many positive qualities “on the table.” And Geri shares the insights she gained from a family camping trip without any electronics! (Listen to the two previous podcasts to catch up with Geri.)

Please Note: You hear a portion of a one hour coaching session. We can’t record the entire session, but we give you the important gist. For more information about PCI Parent Coaching, please contact: info@thepci.org.