In this lesson, children begin to think about basic concepts such as how audiences interpret meaning, and the constructed world of television and film.
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.
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?
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.
Though young adolescents may seem "all grown up", there are still many issues that need to be addressed relating to movie content. Many movies aimed at the "tween" age group (11–13) contain material that isn't appropriate for young teens. The rating systems don't necessarily help either: films that were rated Restricted (17 and over) at the cinema may become 14A when released on home video in Canada.
- 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.
In this section, we examine some concerns related to the movies kids enjoy and we offer tips for talking about problematic film content such as violence and gender and racial stereotyping.
The Internet has revolutionized how young people watch movies: half of Canadian teens say that they download movies without paying for them at least once a week.