Screen Stigma: Looking at mental illness in the news

In this lesson, students learn about the ways in which news coverage of an event or issue can be biased, focusing on the aspects of the medium and industry that can lead to bias. They read an article that examines the coverage of mental illness in the news and then participate in an interactive activity that lets them compose their own article. Finally, students find and analyze a recent news story on a mental health topic and write a letter either praising or critiquing it.

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Screen Stigma: Looking at mental illness in popular media

Students begin by viewing a slideshow that explores common stereotypes of mental illness and mental illness treatment in media. They read a prepared analysis of the portrayal of mental illness in a TV show popular with teens, then in a small group analyze another text of their choice. Finally, students create an annotated version of a scene or excerpt from a text in which they analyze and evaluate its portrayal of mental illness.

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Just a joke? Helping youth respond to casual prejudice

One of the barriers to youth pushing back against prejudice is not wanting to over-react, particularly if they feel their peers were just ‘joking around.’ Humour, however, can often be a cover for intentional bullying and prejudice. In this lesson, students analyze media representations of relational aggression, such as sarcasm and put-down humour, then consider the ways in which digital communication may make it harder to recognize irony or satire and easier to hurt someone’s feelings without knowing it. Students then consider how humour may be used to excuse prejudice and discuss ways of responding to it.

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father daughter tablet holidaysMany families have media traditions around the holidays – whether that’s watching A Charlie Brown Christmas together or staging a Mario Kart tournament on New Year’s Day. It’s great to make media a family activity, and it’s also an opportunity to co-view with your kids.

Managing tech at home during the holidays

Family guidelines for new tech devices 

“We used (this) contract in our home when my son got his first smartphone… it’s a great resource.” - Kim Schiffman, editor-in-chief at Today’s Parent 

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

From the tablet to the TV screen, media are a huge influence on how we see ourselves and our world. Nowhere, perhaps, is that more true than when it comes to gender: media provide many of our ideas of what “male” and “female” are, and many of our models of how to behave, what to avoid doing, and whom to emulate in order to play the role we’ve been assigned. 

Unpacking Privilege

Students are introduced to the idea of “privilege” in relation to diversity and how it applies to media. They then look at a checklist of media related privileges to help them understand the concept.

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