Teaching critical media literacy skills to children can help shape their understanding of violence when playing violent video games. Here are some ways for parents to promote these skills:
- Start early: Begin teaching critical media literacy skills at a young age. Help your child develop a questioning mindset and curiosity about the media they consume. Encourage them to think critically about the messages they encounter.
- Watch and discuss together: Engage in joint media experiences with your child, including playing video games together or watching them play. Use these opportunities to ask questions, discuss the content, and explore their interpretations. Encourage them to share their thoughts, emotions, and opinions.
- Analyse representations of violence: Help your child understand how violence is portrayed in media, including video games. Discuss the purpose, context, and consequences of violent actions within the game. Encourage them to reflect on whether these representations align with real-world behaviours and values.
- Explore diverse perspectives: Teach your child to consider multiple perspectives and challenge stereotypes. Encourage them to question how different characters are portrayed in video games, including their motivations, backgrounds, and values. Discuss the impact of these representations on broader social issues.
- Discuss media messages and intent: Help your child identify the messages conveyed by media, including video games. Explore the intent behind these messages and discuss how they may influence attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours. Encourage them to think critically about the possible motivations of game developers and the impact of their choices.
- Evaluate credibility and bias: Teach your child to assess the credibility and reliability of the information presented in video games. Discuss how bias can be present in media representations and help them identify any potential biases within the game. Encourage them to seek diverse sources of information and think critically about the information they encounter.
- Encourage media production: Inspire your child to create their own media content, such as writing stories, making videos, or designing games. This hands-on experience allows them to understand the creative process and become more critical consumers of media.
- Stay informed and involved: Keep up-to-date with the latest media trends and technologies. Stay involved in your child’s media consumption, explore new games together, and discuss emerging issues and controversies related to media violence. This allows you to guide your child’s understanding and offer relevant guidance.
- Educate about marketing tactics: Teach your child about advertising and marketing techniques commonly used in media, including video games. Help them recognise strategies such as product placement, endorsements, and persuasive appeals. Discuss how these tactics can influence their perceptions and choices.
By consistently incorporating these strategies into your conversations and media experiences with your child, you can help develop their critical media literacy skills. These skills will enable them to think critically, navigate media messages responsibly, and shape their understanding of violence in the context of playing violent video games.