• OWLS

  • Wise words on Privacy

Don’t click on ads without checking with someone first

Key Messages

  • Children are bombarded with advertising everywhere they look.
  • Advertising is an integral part of generating money on the Internet to pay for services that we get for free
  • Like all forms of advertising, people can be misled by ads on websites.
  • Children are tricked into clicking on ads by the media ploys (flashing, animations, promises, commands etc) used.
  • Clicking on ads can compromise security and privacy.

Illustrating the topic

Discussion Questions

  • Why is there advertising on the Internet?
  • What sorts of ads (on any media including TV) can students recall immediately? Are any of these Internet ads? How effective are these ads?
  • What might happen if you click on an ad? (security/privacy - tracking, targeting, viruses, spending parents’ money - theft, affect on child’s value towards possessions, self esteem...)
  • What is a cookie? How is it used to target advertising and track a user? How does this make it harder to resist clicking on ads? (cookies track the sites you visit and record how long you spend viewing a page therefore discovering your interests - ads are now targeted and appealing).


  • Select some Internet sites to explore such as YouTube, popular game sites, educational sites (Mathletics, Sumdog etc) shopping sites. Do some maths - count and sort the ads into categories. Graph results. Which types of sites have many ads? Which have none? Why is there a difference?
  • Without clicking on the ads study one or two discussing if students know who created a particular ad and what words, images, or sounds were used to attract their attention. How did they feel after seeing the ad? - Record feelings using Wordle or a brainstorming tool (refer Resources).
  • It may be useful to study the power, tricks and impact of advertising on children to reinforce that advertising affects mental health and values as well as privacy. Use the many links to advertising on the Internet eg Advertising to Children http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwVU8FqIKZI or the different types of online ads - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_advertising.
  • Make a video, class book or presentation (refer Resources) encouraging children to avoid clicking on ads. Consider making a parody to a popular tune eg “Dumb Ways to Die” (refer Resources) becomes “Don’t click the ads so many other things to do” or nursery rhyme.
  • Students create some ads (eg draw, video) and role play with class. Vote using a “how tempting is it?” scale. Would you click on it? Make a list of ‘being strong’ quotes to stop the temptation. Some ads may offer free apps, gifts, competitions, credits in a game, friends, etc