Consumer Protection
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How to Protect Yourself: Toy Ads on TV
Source: Florida Attorney General's Office

Almost every parent has heard a child yell, "I want that!" while watching the latest toy advertisement on television. Children, particularly younger ones, have difficulty understanding that the manner in which a toy performs in its imaginary television setting is different from the way it may perform when the box is opened at home. To prevent disappointments, you may want to help children better understand what they see in television ads.

Discuss With Your Child The Purpose Of TV Advertising
Point out to your child that the purpose of advertising is to sell products. Special sound effects, production techniques, camera work and editing are all used to enhance the way a given toy appears to operate. You may want to help children focus on the part of an ad showing a toy's real-life operation.

Remind Children That Some Toys Are More Difficult To Use Than They Appear
In some ads, toys may look easy to play with or operate. In fact, they may require hours of practice before a child could use them as shown. Because of differing levels of skills and talents, not all toys are appropriate for all children.

Toys May Not Be Sold With All The Pieces Displayed In The Ad
Some toys may be shown with parts from more than one package while others may be depicted in elaborate play settings not readily duplicated at home. Children may want to watch and listen for such key phrases as "pieces sold separately" or "batteries not included."

Find Out Whether Assembly Is Required
Many TV and print ads depict toys as "ready to play with" when, in fact, assembly is required. In some cases, assembly may be difficult and time consuming.

Make Sure That The Toy Is Age Appropriate
When purchasing a toy from a store, check the recommended age level on the toy packaging. This is the manufacturer's guide to the age appropriateness of the toy and skill level required for its use.

Research The Product
As with any product, find out information about a toy before purchasing it. Carefully examine the toy and its packaging in the store or ask friends for their experiences. Try to determine how the toy actually performs, which pieces come with it, and how much assembly is required.