100 Family Media Literacy Activities (cont.)
15 Media Literacy Activities for teens, ages 14-17
1. Debate your teen.
Teens love an argument. So why not structure a conversation to make it an intentional debate? One topic could be:" Gender stereotypes on TV and in the movies do (or do not) influence teen behavior toward the opposite sex." Have your child develop at least ten pro or con arguments for this proposal. You do the same then present the debate at a family gathering. Encourage your teen to discuss this issue with friends or ask your social studies teacher if a debate can be set up in the classroom.
2. Discuss the value and the problems with rating systems.
Provide opportunities for your teen to admit to and then discuss movies or TV programs they saw or vide games they played which were “off-limits”. Provide non-judgmental guidance about what is appropriate viewing for people their age, explaining the reasons why you had made this content off-limits to him/her. Include in your discussion the impact of peer pressure for your teen to go against your wishes. What can be done so your teen will honor your wishes and avoid the inappropriate content?
3. Write a recommended non-violent TV/video game list for young children.
Have your teen research on the web and through interviews with teachers, what TV programs, video games, even movies are appropriate for younger children. Hove him/her share the lists with pre-schools and schools in the area; parents your teen may baby-sit for, or to post on his/her own blog or website as a community service.
4. Share and discuss the research.
There are over 3,000 reliable research studies linking media violence with real-life violence. The correlation between media violence and aggression is higher than the correlation between smoking causing lung cancer! Have your teen read one or more of these studies and discuss them with you. A good place to begin is my book, Stop Teaching Our Kids to Call: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie, and Video Game Violence.
5. Use satire or spoofs to show misguided causality.
With friends your teen may enjoy creating a layout for an original TV commercial that spoofs a real commercial. It can be fun making an exaggerated version of a familiar commercial. You may want to pick up a copy of AdBusters Magazine. Your teen will enjoy the satire and you will enjoy having a lot of great information for interesting family discussions.
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