Talking to Kids about Racial Stereotypes - Tip Sheet

Racial stereotypes abound on television, and children’s programming is no exception. The turban-wearing bad guy, the brainy Asian, and the Black basketball whiz are just a few of the stereotypes reinforced in children’s cartoons, films and TV shows. Spotting these stereotypes is often difficult for children; to them, the tomahawk-wielding Indian or the Asian karate expert is a familiar, easily-understood and often funny character. So how do you help children understand these images for what they are – oversimplified, generalizations?

Talking to Kids about Gender Stereotypes - Tip Sheet

Images of men and women in the media are often based on stereotypical roles of males and females in our society. Because stereotyping can affect how children feel about themselves and how they relate to others, it’s important that they learn to recognize and understand gender stereotypes in different media.

Media violence has been taken up as a public policy issue by a number of Western countries. Central to the debate has been the challenge of accommodating what may appear to be opposing principles—the protection of children from unsuitable media content and upholding the right to freedom of expression.

Good-quality video games offer lots of benefits to children and teens.

For most teens, playing video games is just another recreational activity they enjoy with friends. The concern is when video game playing becomes an addictive or isolating activity.

Throughout the elementary years, parents are the main gatekeepers for their children. As such, they need to be actively involved in their children’s video game playing – selecting the games, managing how much time children spend playing, and talking to them about the values in the games they like.

Sixty-two per cent of Canadian gamers are male:[1] and in a market targeted primarily at males, games that appeal to girls can be hard to find. Generally girls aren’t interested in the violent “first person shooter” games favoured by boys, and many of the girl-specific games promote stereotypical interests such as cooking and babysitting. (Industry representatives claim these topics are chosen based on their surveys of what female games want.)

The video game sector is the fastest growing entertainment industry and second only to music in profitability. Global sales of video game software hit almost $17 billion U.S. in 2011. [1]

Video Games

Concerns about video games include the time children and teens spend playing them, the physical effects of an inactive lifestyle, and the violent or sexist content of many games. Playing video games can be a positive experience if we understand the issues involved, choose games wisely and control screen time.

Video Games and Your Family

Video and computer games have become a basic part of kids’ lives: nearly all youth play electronic games at least occasionally. Many parents, though, feel they don’t know enough about the games their children are playing, and worry about the role gaming plays in their children’s lives. Fortunately, there are steps parents can take to make sure that video games are a healthy part of their kids’ lives, and a fun part of family life as well.

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