Activity Three: Adjusting the Focus - Lesson

“Media Literacy for Development & Children’s Rights” was created by UNICEF Canada to help young people in grades 6 - 8 understand the role played by the media in influencing their attitudes and perceptions about developing nations and development issues. This module contains a series of lessons, exercises and background information to help familiarize students with the issues and challenges surrounding representation of other countries and cultures by the media. There are two activities in this lesson: Point of View: Children in the Media, and Censorship Case Studies: Who Decides What We See?

English

Talking to kids about racial stereotypes

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

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.

Since the 1960s, feminists have argued that “it matters who makes it.” When it comes to the mass media, “who makes it” continues to be men.

Although many concerns remain about how women are represented in media, there are signs that things are changing. Roles for women on television, in particular, have become much more varied and complex in the last decade, ranging from tough and take-charge characters such as Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica and Detective Kate Beckett on Castle to more realistic, but still powerful characters such as Parks and Recreation’s Leslie Knope.

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