Have you ever been suckered? Manipulated? Felt like you were pushed into a corner? I’ve shared a great book that teaches about logic and fallacies, but below is a fast and easy video clip to share with your kids that focuses on manipulation.
An example of how I’ve been manipulated
One time, I was suckered into buying 3 bottles of green all purpose cleaner–at around $20 each! The poverty stricken college-student-sales-person licked the spray bottle hose to verify that it was non-toxic and harmless to kids. Then she cleaned a part of my car, a piece of my carpet and claimed it would clean anything, any time, anywhere. She told me her wretchedly sad childhood story and how this sales job would pay for college and help her pull herself up and better her circumstances–but only if people were willing to buy cleaner from her.
Manipulation and it’s friendly counterpart persuasion have been around forever and both are used not only by salespeople, but also governments. I was pretty shocked when I found out about this study that the government is doing. It will be tracking various messages to see which is the most effective in encouraging people to get a vaccine during the Covid-19 pandemic. Is that manipulation or is it persuasion? What is the difference?
How to teach our kids about Manipulation
I want my kids to learn to make logical decisions that are made by principle and not emotion. I want them to feel perfectly comfortable standing alone or going contrary to everyone else if they feel it is right.
Enter the BS Guys (standing for Behavioral Science). These guys are awesome. Backed by research, but easy to understand, they show in an entertaining way how we are manipulated and what to do to avoid it. Targeted at tweens and teens, these are super fun to watch. If we recognize and understand the tactics that are being used in the world around us (consciously or unconsciously) we can be in control of the situation instead. And we don’t have to feel dumb or mean.
That is empowering.
P.S. My favorite part of this video is when a girl keeps her promise and slaps a boy upside the head because he was cheating. She was great!
Family Discussion Guide
- What is the difference between manipulation and persuasion?
- What are the four ways we are manipulated? Can you give us examples?
- What can you do to avoid manipulation?
- Why is it important to not be manipulated?
- Have you ever felt pressured to do something you didn’t want to do?
- How can you help hold people accountable for what they are doing? (Without hitting them!)
- Have you caught yourself trying to manipulate someone else? What was your motivation?
- Take a look at the messages the government is using to convince people to wear masks. Which do you think is the most convincing? Do you think this is persuasion or manipulation?
*VitalSmarts, L.C., www.vitalsmarts.com. All rights reserved. Reposted with permission.