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Dear ads,

Please be all ears because here I am going to praise you (at least a few of you), rave about how good a teacher you are and make you feel big and worthy.

Honestly, there wouldn’t be any mulling session about the impact you create on young minds (especially toddlers and children) if my twenty month old wasn’t screen dependent to finish his food.

I’ve realized that he is immensely fascinated by the ads that run in between the shows. He watchfully responds to most of the advertisements. Sometimes he grins and looks at me, as if trying to express his amusement. Other times, he gambols or claps joyfully. And there’s favouritism too – nothing cheers him up than the MamyPoko Pants diaper ads.

Few days ago, I bought him those diaper pants and surprisingly he hugged me with glee. Interesting, isn’t it? Because until now, I was very wrong about two things. A) Twenty months old cannot differentiate between advertisements and television shows and they do not interpret much. B) Toddlers and children do not relate and respond to advertisements like adults do.

The BIG Q that follows is whether children should be exposed to advertisements. And that’s highly debatable because just like everything else, ads have its own pros and cons.

There are dime a dozen advertisements that make children believe in the falsehood, they get influenced and turn rebellious if parents don’t give in. Children watch and believe that drinking Red Bull will give them wings and they will feel on the top of the world.

Well, children see lots and lots of ads every day. They experience advertising in several forms – on TV, YouTube, apps, radio, billboards, magazines, newspapers, movies, the internet, text messages, social media and more. But the ability to spot advertising and comprehend the message it gives is an important life skill that can be taught to them at a very young age. From Dove – Beauty Sketches to Dodge Wisdom, there have been some extremely beautiful ads that spread an important message in the world.

There are some exceptionally good ads that bring values in children. The P&G ad about the ‘Thank You Mom’ theme, took a worthy approach to aligning itself to the Olympics. This ad comes with a strong message that falling only makes us stronger. So is the Guinness – Wheelchair Basketball ad, another sport-focused advertisement reminding us of the strong bond of friendship. Such ads create a positive effect on the innocent minds.

Even in day-to-day routine, there are so many commercials that promote healthy food and a healthy living- ads on digestive wheat biscuits, 100% fruit juices and the list is endless.

Until now, I thought advertisements will only make my child a spoiled brat and fill his mind with notions that a fair skin is more important than a post-grad degree or soft drinks can bring the hero out in him.

What I failed to notice was the bigger picture. Ads can be a good teacher. How else will children learn to think otherwise? How will their horizon expand and how will they be exposed to brands and products constantly evolving around them.

So my dear advertisements, I thought I should write to you and let you know your big role. And henceforth, I have nailed it down: Advertisement offers plentiful insights only if you teach your little ones how to read between the lines.

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