100 Family Media Literacy Activities, Ages Pre-School through Teen Years
Are You a “High Hopes” Parent?
Attending to Our Children’s Attention Span
Building the Foundation for Resiliency Skills
Live and Play in Your World: Stimulus Addiction and the Growing Brain
Looking for Meaning in All the Right Places
Parenting Today: The World Has Changed, Have We?
Parenting as a Living System
Reading the Screen
Screen Time and Obesity
Screen Violence: Impact on Self as Relational Being
Teaching Children Gratefulness
100 Family Media Literacy Activities (cont.)
4. Re-write violent scripts.
In this activity your child acts as a screenwriter or video game designer and uses his/her creative ideas to change the violent script of a program or video game to a non-violent one. The goal is to eliminate the violence and come up with alternative solutions to the problems. Depending on the child’s maturity and skills, this activity can involve drawing pictures rather than writing. Or, the writing could consist of an outline. Encourage your child to pay special attention to those elements that must be changed in order to eliminate the violence: Is it the people, the places, the time, the situation? Discuss your child’s story with him and point out changes from the original.
5. Make-up a different hero.
Choose a favorite TV program or movie—one that your child is familiar with and enjoys watching—that contains some violence. An action cartoon works well for this activity. Before the show begins hold a conversation with your child and say something like: As you are watching today, I want you to imagine another character being in the show (or cartoon)—someone you make up from your own imagination. This person can be male or female, tall or short, young or old. The only thing you have to make sure is that this person solves all his/her problems through talking, cooperation, and negotiation. Never through hurting anyone or destroying property.” Once the character has been chosen, ask your child to describe him or her in detail and how this imagined character (IC) might act in various situations. Then watch the program or cartoon, and while watching, ask such questions as: “What is your IC doing now? What makes your IC strong? Smart? Creative? How would your IC solve the problem? What does your IC want to tell you about this show?” You can keep an on-going dialogue about your child’s non-violent IC and the creative ways he/she solves problems.
6. Commercial tally.
Ask your child, “How many commercials do you watch in a week? “Then encourage him/her to mark an X on a piece of paper every time a commercial is shown while watching television over one week’s time. You can have your child tally the results, multiplying by four to find out how many commercials you watch in a month, then by twelve for how many commercials are watched in a year. Ask, “How many commercials will you see by the time you turn twenty-one?”
Watch a current blockbuster film with your child and count the brand name products shown throughout the film. Then visit a fast-food restaurant and see what TV or movie tie-ins you can find. Discuss how companies find every way possible to get their products in front of children to make them want to buy it.
8. Attention grabbers.
Think of several products or services and have your child come up with a dramatic, funny, or unusual approach to a TV commercial that will grab the viewer. Discuss why these approaches are effective in attracting viewers' attention.
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