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The Future is for Creators, not Consumers. Are your Kids Ready?

With the gift-giving holidays upon us, I thought it would be a great time to talk about helping our children recognize the difference between being consumers versus being creators. In this day and age, when folks hear the word “creator”, they likely think of an influencer on the many platforms found on the internet. They aren’t wrong.

Like many words, “creator” has grown and changed with society, with the main catalyst being the internet.

The internet was becoming a household thing when my children were pre-school age. They grew up with it when it was more of an “Information Superhighway” rather than a form of constant entertainment. I mean, who among us hasn’t lost hours watching TikTok and/or YouTube videos? As such, they used the internet as a source of information and only later, as a source of entertainment. The internet is still their first source to answer any question that may arise for which they need an answer.

My generation was pre-internet and therefore my generation became different kinds of creators.

Like today’s youth, our imaginations were the driving force of our creations.

Unlike today’s youth, necessity was a close second. We rarely had disposable income as babysitting, mowing lawns, and allowances didn’t pay much. What we could not afford to purchase, we were forced to create.

My friends and I spent hours designing and building tree houses and forts. We learned how to sew, embroidery, and cross stitch to make our outfits stand out from the crowd. We learned to bake so that we could gift friends and family special treats during the holidays. We made cardboard looms to weave scarves and pot holders for our moms.

As a teenager, I could not afford to be a consumer. Consumerism for children and teenagers came later when advertisers caught on that kids had purchasing power, or at least their parents did.

But like the word creator, consumer has also evolved with the rise of the internet.

To consume means to purchase, yes, but it also means to watch that which is being created by people on social media. Kids consuming video after video of other kids “unboxing” toys. Teens consuming videos of other teens playing video games. Me, consuming videos of vanlife and expat adventurers.

So, why would we want our kids to understand the difference between being a creator vs. a consumer? I can think of lots of reasons, starting with consumerism helping to destroy the environment, but let’s keep it educational.

Benefits of Encouraging Children's Creativity

Creativity is the ability to produce new and different ideas. It is a skill that can be developed through encouragement and practice.

Creativity is important for kids because it is a gateway to learning and self-expression.

Creativity also provides an opportunity for children to explore different materials and create things of which they can be proud.

There are many ways that children can be encouraged to develop their creativity skills. These include:

Adults should be willing to show children how they, too, create things. Whether it is by drawing, building something, creating a video or podcast, or knitting a useful potholder.

Importance of Encouraging Children's Creativity

Creativity is a skill that is essential for any job. It is important to encourage children to be creative and explore their imaginations as they grow up.

Creativity can be encouraged by:

  • Providing children with the right resources, such as art supplies, toys, and books

  • Encouraging children's self-expression and originality

  • Creating opportunities for children to explore their creativity in different ways

A child's imagination is one of the most powerful things in the world. It can make them feel like anything is possible and that they can do anything.

The best way to encourage creativity in children is to provide them with opportunities to explore their own interests and provide a space for their ideas to grow.

Importance of Educating Children about Consumerism

Kids are the most vulnerable market for advertising. They are the most impressionable and have the least resistance to marketing. They have a lot of influence over what their parents buy because they usually know more about it than their parents do. In recent years, marketers have been using new methods to reach kids such as social media, apps, video games, and YouTube videos. The use of kids as consumers has been around since the 1920s, first in print ads and then in TV commercials. The first children's TV show aired in 1952. In the 1970s, children became a more important target for advertisers because they were more likely to be influenced by television ads than adults.

In today’s world, kids are more likely to buy what they know and like. They also have a higher chance of buying something if it is recommended by someone they trust. The first thing we should do is teach them about sustainability, so that they can understand how the items they purchase can have a direct effect on the planet as a whole. It is important for kids to know that they have a voice and that they have a say in what happens in their environment and in the world around them.

Using their money to do things that help the planet is an important thing to understand.

Children should be taught how to manage money and about different types of consumption: necessities (food), luxuries (clothes), and distractions (video games). Armed with the understanding of the differences, kids will be able to make informed decisions about their spending habits, as well as understand why some items might not be necessary or worth buying if it's not something needed for survival or comfort.

Parents must take responsibility for teaching their children how advertising works so that they can better understand why certain ads are more persuasive than others and how this impacts them as consumers in general. Kids these days are more than just consumers of products. They are influencers, trendsetters, and the future of marketing. Marketers have made it their mission to understand the psychology behind kids and how they think in order to be successful when marketing to them.

Our children are also the future of our society. They will be the ones to take our place in this world and they will be the ones to create, invent, and innovate. We need to be aware of how we can make their lives better, especially when it comes to consumption. Without becoming an on off-the-grid hermit, it is inevitable that our children will be consumers. The goal is to help them also be creators. We want them to feel a sense of pride and joy when they have fulfilled a need by creating an item, rather than purchasing it. We want them to be imaginative and self-reliant so that they can help guide the world into a safe and beneficial future.

Yes, our children will be consumers, but it is our job to ensure that they are also creators.

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