Along with images of natural disasters and violence, one all-too-common news item that can be distressing to kids is reports of hate crimes. Seeing or hearing about hate-motivated assaults and vandalism of homes, cemeteries and places of worship in media, can lead to fear and anxiety in young people, especially if they belong to a vulnerable group. In many cases, the effect will be worse because news isn’t the only place Canadian kids see hate and racism: almost half see hateful content online at least once a month, and one in six sees it every day.
Talk Back! How to Take Action on Media Issues gives you the tools to talk back to media companies.
Did you know that almost a quarter of adults have shared a false news story, and that we’re least likely to fact-check news and other things that come to us through people we know and trust on social networks (even though for many people these are their most common sources of news)?
MediaSmarts is partnering with Facebook Canada to help Canadians become better informed readers in the digital age. False online content isn’t a new problem, and it’s not unique to Facebook, but it is up to all of us to fight it. Many of us lack the search, authentication and critical thinking skills we need to find accurate information online and to recognize false or misleading content. That’s why MediaSmarts has partnered with Facebook to help build the authentication skills of all Canadians.
As a family, we’re watching a lot less advertising these days – at least, I thought we were. That’s because most of our family watching is on Netflix, which has no commercials, and the few shows we watch on regular TV are recorded in advance and ads are skipped over. I can easily go months without being aware of what new movies are coming up, which new developments have occurred in the world of toothpaste, and what new packaging strides Coke and Pepsi have made.
In this lesson students learn about the systems used to classify films, TV programs and video games. Students are asked to take a critical look at the criteria applied to classify these media products, and then take into account and discuss the underlying social and political aspects arising from those systems.
Online news is one of the hardest things to verify. Sometimes early reports that turn out not to be true still circulate on the Internet, and people may spread false reports for commercial or malicious reasons, or even just for “fun.”
Level: Grades 9 to 12
About the Author: Matthew Johnson, Director of Education, MediaSmarts
Duration: 1 to 1 ½ hours, plus time to do and present the assessment/evaluation activity
Level: Grades 11 and 12
Duration: 1½ to 2 hours class time
About the Author: Robert Porter, Sarah Keeshan, and Jane Bailey
This lesson plan is a joint project of MediaSmarts and The eQuality Project, a project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
On the internet, it can be hard to tell what’s true and what’s false—but we have to make a lot of decisions based on how reliable we think things are. In Reality Check, you’ll learn how to find clues like finding where a story originally came from and comparing it to other sources, as well as how to use tools like fact-checking sites and reverse image searches.