Questions about media violence have populated the headlines for almost as long as mass media has existed. Every few years, there’s a new line up of suspects: music, social media platforms, video games, television shows and movies. 

No one knows better than communications industries that children and youth represent a huge market, due to both their own spending power and their influence on family spending decisions.

As concerned adults, we also need to recognize when our anxieties about media violence are used to sell us on blanket censorship, ideology, and a variety of products.

While parents may find certain representations of violence wholly appropriate for young people, there is a wide continuum of content that exists online and in the media. Anything from a cartoon cat having an anvil comically dropped on his head to video images of real life injuries and deaths can be accessed online by children and youth.

Whether it's Darth Vader, the Daleks in Doctor Who or the winged monkeys in The Wizard of Oz, most of us remember seeing something on screen that we could only watch from behind a couch or under one of our parents' coats: in fact, 90 per cent of adults report an enduring memory of having been traumatized as a child by something they saw on television or in a movie. What we may not remember, however, is how serious and persistent the effects of these frightening moments and images can be. As we guide our children through their media experiences, it's important to realize that what they see can lead to problems like vivid nightmares, fear of the dark, having trouble sleeping and refusing to sleep alone.

Most young children enjoy pretend play and love to imitate action heroes. But many teachers, parents and child care workers say the influence of children's superhero TV shows or movies, can result in havoc when little fans get together.

To introduce students to the rating systems for films, videos and television and to the issues that surround these classifications.

This lesson teaches children that television doesn't always offer the best solutions to conflict.