Those online games and their sneaky online marketing! You can't let those game makers out of your sight for a second.
Enticed by the lure of playing online games with their favorite cartoon characters, kids are logging on to online games like crazy. Once the gamer is logged in they are a captive audience to pop up ads and logos that are woven into the graphics. In short - lots of advertising per computer screen square inch. None of this is against the law. There is very little hard sell but there is a ceaseless opportunity grab to foster brand loyalty. I am getting dangerously close to talking marketese so I'll stop here. The key is to educate your kids as to why they are seeing ads and logos and why these games sites are free when others require payment. Explain that "sneak previews" and "exclusive video clips" are essentially ads. We can arm our kids with knowledge by teaching them to play "guess what they're selling".
This 1/2 page illustration was created for the February issue of School Library Journal under the benevolent and wise stewardship of art director, Mark Tuchman.