We talk about teaching kids to be smart consumers, but that’s a tough task today given immersion in all-things media.

Yet the importance of that aspect of parenting is one of the points in a report due to be published next month in the Journal of Consumer Research.

As an early childhood educator, I know that young children can’t separate an ad from content: a three-year old watching a cartoon doesn’t realize where the program ends and where the commercial begins.

But choosing ad-free programming and helping kids learn that ads try to make us believe things that might not be true, are easy steps to grow a generation of smarter consumers.

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