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.)
20 Media Literacy Activities for Teens, ages 11-14
1. Sensational or sensitive portrayal?
In a discussion with your young teen about media violence ask such questions as: “When a violent act occurs on the screen, how can you tell if it's there simply to draw viewers' attention or if it's there because it's a necessary part of the action? Does the violence move you in any way to feel compassion? Is the violence more about human suffering and less about blood and gore? How was the violent act presented? Where was the camera? Are you right in there with the action or are you an observer? Are you the perpetrator or the victim? Do hyped up technical effects distance you from the suffering inflicted? How?”
2. Emotional violence.
Encourage your child to keep a tally of the types of emotional violence in favorite shows, such as putdowns disguised as humor, verbal threats, or name-calling. Then discuss how emotional violence harms a person and why it can lead to physical violence. Emphasize ways scriptwriters could re-write verbal abuse and emotional violence to treat human beings with more dignity.
3. Read about real people who suffered at the hands of violence.
Often kids separate violence in movies and video games from real life—yet, when playing violent video games, they rehearse violence and when watching violent films they are thrilled by murder and mayhem. If you bring to your child’s attention articles, books, or newspaper accounts of people who suffered from real violence, your child is more likely to develop empathy, by identifying with the victim.
4. Predict violent content.
Using any TV schedule have your child predict which shows will have violence in them just by reading the titles. Go through a week’s worth of programs and have him/her chose the five considered most violent, explaining the reasons for the choices. Depending on the age and maturity level of your child, you can watch a few of the programs with him/her to assess the predictions. This is a good activity when a new TV show, movie, or video game comes out that your child knows little about. Thinking ahead and considering what factors would make entertainment violent teaches important discerning skills.
5. How do you know what’s cool?
Discuss with your child why violent entertainment is often considered “cool.” Some questions to consider are: “What factors must be included to determine a rating of “cool?” Who gets to decide what’s “cool”—you, your peers, or the businesses promoting the violent entertainment? Do you think it’s important to be “cool?” Why or why not?
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