This lesson introduces students to some of the myth-building techniques of television by comparing super heroes and super villains from television to heroes and villains in the real world and by conveying how violence and action are used to give power to characters.
This teaching unit helps students to become more aware of the language and techniques used in print advertising, as well as the impact of advertising on their daily lives.
Talking to kids about media violence
Talking to kids about violence in the media they consume – television, movies, video games, music and the Internet – can help them put media violence into perspective and perhaps diffuse some of its power.
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?
Most young children enjoy pretend play and love to imitate action heroes. But many teachers, parents and child care workers say the influence of children’s superhero TV shows or movies, can result in havoc when little fans get together.
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.
Kids have always enjoyed watching movies, and as films have become available through more and more media this popular activity has come to play an increasingly influential role in their lives: nearly half of Canadian teens say that movies are their favorite entertainment medium. 
It can take young children several viewings to fully absorb and understand the story and images in a movie. Indulge their need to watch a favourite movie over and over again. They’re learning more every time, as well as getting comfort from the familiar.