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.
In this lesson, students explore the issues surrounding violent video games. The lesson begins with a review of the Entertainment Software Rating Board’s rating codes for video and computer games, and a class discussion about the appropriateness of these ratings for children and teens.
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?