Free Resources from the FTC
Have you ever heard of the Federal Trade Commission? Most folks who have may know
us because of the Do Not Call Registry,
a U.S. database of some 200 million
phone numbers that telemarketers are
not allowed to call. Thanks to the FTC,
millions of Americans enjoy a dinner
hour free from marketing phone calls.
But the FTC, the nation’s consumer protection agency, has much more to offer.
The good news is that the agency has
award-winning resources on hundreds
of topics of interest to kids, their parents,
and their teachers. The better news is
that our resources are in the public domain, so you can use them without permission from the agency. The best news?
The resources are free and available in
bulk for distribution to a class, a school,
or an entire school system.
Digital Citizenship Resources
Here’s an overview of some resources
that are especially popular with kids
Admongo ( www.admongo.gov).
Every time kids go online, they’re
faced with decisions about the information they find: Who’s responsible
for it? What is it actually saying? What
is it asking them to do? Are the source
and the information credible?
Admongo is a free resource from
the FTC that teaches critical-thinking
skills and encourages kids to apply
them to advertising. The interactive
piece of the program, at admongo.gov,
aims to teach kids ages 8–12 core ad
literacy concepts through game play.
Admongo asks kids to create an
avatar and then practice their critical-thinking skills by making their way
through a building where they spot
Everywhere you look, you see ads. But do you know what you’re looking at? All it takes is a little sleuthing! To decode any ad, just answer these questions:• Who is responsible for the ad? • What is the ad actually saying?• What does the ad want me to do?
and decode ads. Once students learn
to ask and answer critical-thinking
questions, they can apply them to
any media message.
Admongo includes free lesson plans
that are tied to fifth and sixth grade
learning standards, but teachers in
schools around the country report
that they’ve used the lessons successfully with students in grades 2–12.
You’ll find the game at the Admongo
website, along with lesson plans, a library of sample ads, videos to explain
the game and its approach, and other
resources for teachers, media specialists, and parents.
Living Life Online. Kids, like everyone
else, are spending more time online.
Chances are that the adults in their
lives want to be sure they’re keeping
safe and being good citizens—digital
or otherwise. The FTC’s digital citizenship resources for kids, their parents,
and educators are designed to help kids
make smart and thoughtful decisions.
Living Life Online is the FTC’s
newest print and online resource
for digital kids, with short articles,
activities, quizzes, and an ask-the-expert column. Kids learn how to
stay safe online, how to use critical-thinking skills, and how to apply
them to the content they see all
around them. With topics as varied
as how to handle both bullying and
bill shock, Living Life Online helps
kids navigate the digital age landscape. Check it out at ftc.gov/living
OnGuardOnline. The FTC manages
OnGuardOnline.gov, a website to
help consumers of all ages get around
safely in the online world. The site
offers practical tips from the federal
government and the technology industry for developing such digital
age skills as guarding against internet
fraud, recognizing a phishing attack,
securing your computer, and protecting your personal information. Its
resources for educators, students,
and parents include award-winning
articles, videos, and games.
By Jennifer M. Leach