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KCTS/SEATTLE'S 'DON'T BUY IT' WEB SITE COMING TO PBS KIDS® ONLINE

Site Aims to Teach Youth How to Make Smart Consumer Choices


ALEXANDRIA, VA (April 15, 2002) -- In an age when kids are bombarded with literally thousands of advertising messages each day, KCTS/Seattle Public Television and PBS KIDS® Online are stepping in to help them think critically about media by launching the Don't Buy It Web site at www.pbskids.org/dontbuyit. The Don't Buy It site, produced by KCTS/Seattle and POP! Multimedia, challenges kids to question advertising, evaluate media and become smart consumers. Using humor, games and clever advertising parodies, Don't Buy It "sells" media literacy to youth ages 9-12.

Don't Buy It fills a critical need, particularly on the Web, where most media literacy sites are geared toward parents and teachers. Don't Buy It offers parents' and teachers' guides for grades 3-6, but the site is for kids -- a population spending more of its time online than ever.

The Don't Buy It site helps kids learn about the modern media marketplace by showing them how to use the very same advertising tactics used by Madison Avenue. Using site features, kids will be able to put ads in sneaky places, design cereal boxes, craft their own ad captions and more. Stories and quizzes reveal startling truths about the marketing of junk food and the pervasive commercial forces behind the selling of pop music and television. Banner parody ads demonstrate how misleading Web advertising and marketing tactics may be.

"Children have more influence on family spending, and are spending more themselves, than previous generations, and marketers are increasing efforts to capture their attention," said Tim Olson, Interactive Director at KCTS. "Don't Buy It encourages kids to evaluate the motivations, techniques and underlying assumptions of these messages."

An estimated 7.6 million young people ages 9-12 use the Internet, according to a 2000 survey of online households by Grunwald Associates. That's three times as many kids as were online in 1997. In the same survey, 45 percent of parents reported that their child's home Internet use had risen in the past year, and educational activities were cited as the reason for the increase.

Don't Buy It is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, as part of a $1.7 million effort to create educational Internet projects targeted at youth ages 9-12.

Cheryl Williams, CPB Vice President for Education, said public broadcasting is uniquely positioned to provide Web content that educates children, rather than markets products to them. "Parents and educators can trust these sites to be safe havens where children can learn, share ideas and have fun," she said.

The Don't Buy It site is being produced by KCTS/Seattle with POP! Multimedia, one of Seattle's leading interactive agencies, which produces extensive content for kids, including work for Nintendo and Microsoft.

About KCTS
KCTS/Seattle Public Television is the largest public television station in the Pacific Northwest, and the fourth most-watched public television station in the United States. For more than 45 years, the station has been committed to offering the best in educational and community service for children and adults. KCTS is a leading producer and presenter of quality national programming; its credits include the Emmy Award-winning series Bill Nye the Science Guy; Life Beyond Earth, featuring acclaimed science writer Timothy Ferris; and Seattle Symphony: Home at Last, with soprano Jessye Norman. More information about KCTS is available at www.kcts.org.

About PBS
PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 349 public television stations. Serving nearly 90 million people each week, PBS enriches the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services on noncommercial television, the Internet and other media. More information about PBS is available at PBS.org

About CPB
CPB, a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, develops public radio, television and online services for the American people. The Corporation is the industry's largest single source of funds for national public television and radio program development and production. CPB, a grantmaking organization, funds more than 1,000 public radio and television stations. More information about the "Where Fun and Learning Click" initiative is available at www.cpb.org/ed/5sites.

About POP! Multimedia
Founded in 1995, POP! Multimedia is one of Seattle's leading interactive agencies. POP! develops online marketing and advertising solutions that help clients create lasting connections to customers. Services offered by POP! include Web Site development, e-commerce solutions, streaming media design, online advertising, e-mail marketing, and web application development. Current clients include Nintendo, Microsoft, Warner Home Video and Tully's Coffee. More information about POP! Multimedia is available at www.popmultimedia.com.

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Contacts:
Kevin Dando, PBS
(703) 739-5073

Pat Mallinson, KCTS Seattle
(206) 443-6798

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