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Home » Respecting Differences »

Using Media Wisely

What children see on television, in movies, and on computers can send powerful messages about how to treat other people.

  • Generate discussions about characters or situations which demonstrate respect.
    Watching television shows, videos, or DVDs with children provides a perfect opportunity to talk about respect. Discuss characters that do and do not treat others kindly. When a character is unkind, you might say something like, "I wonder what that girl could have done differently?" or "How do you think that boy felt when his friend did that?"
  • Choose TV shows that reflect the values you want children to learn.
    All shows send clear messages to children. Reality-based television shows like "Survivor" and "Big Brother" focus on competition, winning and excluding people. Other shows can send messages about sharing, helping and friendship. For example, programs on PBS KIDS such as Clifford, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and Sagwa offer healthy and positive messages about respect for others.
  • Watch and discuss TV shows about people with different abilities.
    Many PBS KIDS shows involve characters with different abilities. Sesame Street has included children with various disabilities for years. Arthur has a classmate who is blind and reads Braille. Dragon Tales has introduced a new dragon who navigates Dragon Land using a wheel chair. A new character on Between the Lions is a terrific athlete who also has a serious learning disability.

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