Media Literacy: Grades 1 - 2

Objective - To recognize violence on children's television programs - To identify alternatives to settling arguments in a violent . . .

Objective

  • To recognize violence on children's television programs
  • To identify alternatives to settling arguments in a violent manner

Activity

  • Ask the children to think of a favorite cartoon they've seen on television. Ask them to recall an episode in which the characters were involved in a conflict. How was the conflict resolved? Allow a few minutes for the children to share what they've seen on television or in the movies.
  • Discuss how arguments and conflicts on television programs are often resolved in a violent manner. Ask these questions about the violence they've seen on television or in the movies:
    • What happened on the show after the characters fought?
    • Did they seem truly hurt?
    • Did they appear shortly after the violence happened looking as if they were just fine?
    • If you got into a fight like the one you described in the cartoon, how do you think you would feel?
    • How does it really feel to be hit, kicked, or pushed?
  • Emphasize to the children that what they see on television is not always real -- if the fighting involved real people, they could get seriously hurt. Explain that some injuries that come from real violence never heal.
  • Choose one of the cartoons, shows, or movies shared in the discussion that many of the children seem familiar with. Ask volunteers to act out what happened on part of the show and "freeze" the action before the violence begins.
  • Discuss some other ways this conflict could be resolved without fighting. Brainstorm ideas as a group, and be sure to include these: talking it out, walking away, compromising, or trying to see the other person's side. Have the children continue the scene by choosing a nonviolent way to resolve the conflict.
  • Pass out a copy of McGruff's TV Violence Scorecard (PDF) for each child to take home. Explain that they should watch an episode of their favorite cartoon and color in one of the boxes each time they see violence. After the show is over, the children should count their boxes and color in the picture of McGruff that corresponds to the number of violent acts on the program.
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