Pay For Play Lesson Plan

Level: Grades 4 to 6

About the Author: Matthew Johnson, Director of Education, MediaSmarts

Duration: 1 ½ hours

Digital Literacy Framework iconDigital Literacy Framework icon

This lesson is part of USE, UNDERSTAND & ENGAGE: A Digital Media Literacy Framework for Canadian Schools.


In this lesson, students discuss their experiences playing free online games and then learn the costs of these “free” games in the form of paying with money, sharing personal information or providing attention to advertising or branded content. Students then learn a variety of techniques for mitigating the risks and drawbacks of online games and communicate their learning by describing one of these techniques in video-game terms.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • understand the sometimes misleading nature of “free” online games
  • learn to recognize the different ways in which free-to-play games make money
  • recognize advertising, branding, upselling and privacy risks in online games
  • develop strategies for mitigating the risks and drawbacks of free online games

Home and School Connection

This lesson and all associated documents (handouts, overheads, backgrounders) are available in an easy-print, pdf kit version.

Lesson Kit