Talk Back! How to Take Action on Media Issues gives you the tools to talk back to media companies.

Originally published on CBC Parents.

Editor’s note: There is so much conflicting information about screen time, and a lot of it serves to make us feel guilty, worried or both. We asked the Director of Education at Media Smarts (Canada’s Centre for Digital and Media Literacy), Matthew Johnson, to give us the straight goods on the latest info. What is the big deal with screen time? Here’s his response.

If you haven’t seen the story of the Hot Dog Princess that has been making the rounds of the Internet, I suggest you read this Buzzfeed article. To summarize: it was “Princess Week” at five-year-old Ainsley’s dance class and she decided to wear a hot dog costume. As a parent, this is the kind of youthful impertinence I can get behind. After all, THIS was a princess who really knew who she was, a princess that was not like other princesses, a #hotdogprincess.

Relationships and Sexuality in the Media

In this lesson, students learn to question media representations of gender, relationships and sexuality. After a brief “myth busting” quiz about relationships in the media and a reminder of the constructed nature of media products, the teacher leads the class in an analysis of the messages about gender, sex and relationships communicated by beer and alcohol ads. Students analyze the messages communicated by their favourite media types and then contrast it with their own experience.

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Digital Storytelling for Community Engagement

In groups, students will create a Digital Story which addresses a topic, theme or issue that is affecting them.  All stages of production will be covered, including research, storyboarding their idea into a visual organizational layout, practicing capturing quality photographs and interviews, and finally weaving their Digital Story into a finished project using computer editing software.

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The four of us watched the Oscars last night. My youngest went to bed before it ended so the rest of us are feeling rather bleary this morning. I always wonder why they always do it on a Sunday. Don’t they know it’s a school night? Sigh.

Yesterday’s post was about our resolution to watch more films this year. This post is a bit about the sources of those films and the issue of illegal downloads.

I have a post coming soon about New Year’s resolutions, but first I wanted to write a little about one of our own. This year, I’ve resolved to watch more films. (Yes, more!) It might sound a little strange at a time when many of us are struggling to convince our own children to put down their devices and consume less screen time, but there it is.

Co-Viewing With Your Kids - Tip Sheet

Thinking critically

There are five key ideas that help kids think critically about media. You can start to make your kids aware of these concepts almost as soon as they start asking you questions!

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