Research shows that only a third of parents have discussed gambling with their children. This issue is seen as minor, mainly because parents are generally unaware of their kids’ participation in these sorts of activities. It is important to talk about it, though: research has found that family members’ views about gambling are a major influence on how likely youth are to gamble.
In this lesson, students consider the positive aspects of video games as well as the ways in which games may take time away from other activities they enjoy. Students are introduced to the idea of balancing game and screen time with other parts of their lives and learn about the reasons why they may be tempted to spend more time playing games or find it difficult to stop playing. They then keep a diary of their game play (or another screen activity if they do not play video games) that prompts them to reflect on their gaming habits. Partway through that process, they are introduced to techniques that will help them moderate their game play and deal with the difficulties they may feel reducing game time. Finally, students reflect on the experience and develop a plan to make their game play more mindful.
In this lesson students are introduced to the concept of “avatars” and share their experiences creating and playing avatars in video games and virtual worlds. They then create avatars using a program that is intentionally limited in terms of available body types and gender markers, first creating an avatar of their own gender and then of the opposite gender, and then discuss the program and relate it to representations of gender and body image in games and virtual worlds and in other media. Students then create avatars using a much more flexible version of the program and compare that experience to the more limited version. Finally, students use the more versatile program to create avatars that represent how they see themselves and how they would like others to see them online and reflect on the choices that went into creating them.
Digital media such as the internet and video games have become increasingly important in the lives of children and youth. Even when young people are consuming other media, such as TV, music and movies, they are likely to be doing it through the internet. As well, nearly all the media they consume, from TV shows to toys, have Web pages, virtual worlds, video games or other digital spinoffs associated with them.
In this lesson, students talk about dressing up and taking on identities that are similar to or different from them. They are then introduced to the idea of avatars as a kind of “dressing up” inside video games and consider the ways in which the technical, generic and aesthetic limitations on avatar creation and customization affect their choices and their ability to represent themselves online.
Queer people have been involved in producing their own media for as long as alternative media has existed. This landscape has traditionally been dominated by print media such as zines (small-circulation, generally low-cost, publications) and pamphlets or queer film, but with the advent of the electronic age and cheaper and more accessible electronic devices for production, there’s been an explosion of queer-produced media of all kinds. The following section explores the ways that queer people have sought to claim space for themselves within media and culture.
In this lesson, students are introduced to the ways video games may impact their mental and physical health. Students start with a reflection on their use of video games, specifically the amount of time they play and the role of games in their lives. This is followed by a class activity based on several key questions relating to the positive and/or negative effects video games may have on our health. Finally, students will be given an opportunity to debate key claims on the health effects of video games.
In this lesson students consider diversity representation in video games by identifying examples of diversity in the games they play, comparing their findings to statistics on diversity in the Canadian population.