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What are our Young People Watching?

As digital natives our young people have access to all kinds of media on numerous devices. This access provides huge opportunities in terms of education, communication and entertainment. However, we also know that parents and teachers are concerned about the content of what our young people are viewing online, and while gaming and communicating with others. Does your child play the game Fortnite or watch the Series ‘13 Reasons Why’? The Office of Film and Literature Classifications has recently released a Guide for Parents. This guide includes tips for talking with our young people about what they are watching.

At RHS the ‘O’ part of our CLOAK values is all about knowing ‘Ourselves as Learners’, this includes understanding how our learning impacts our lives. What our learners are watching and engaging with will influence and shape them as individuals. It is important for our young people to be critical thinkers and understand how media is consciously and subconsciously affecting their hauora, which comprises of physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual well-being. This has been a big focus in term 1 and 2 of our Junior High School Health Curriculum.

Some tips from the guide:

  1. Share and talk about entertainment media with your teen.

  2. Encourage them to think critically about what they view. Encourage them to see things from other people’s points of views and from other perspectives. Also ask them if they think the media is based on reality or is fictional.

  3. Talk about sensitive or complex issues.

  4. Support your young person if they’re distressed by something they’ve watched.

There has been much discussion about the TV Series ‘13 Reasons Why’ and the computer game called Fortnite. Fortnite is quickly becoming extremely popular and many of our students regularly play this game. It is addictive and comes with a PEGI rating of 12 years old due to ‘frequent scenes of mild violence’. There is also an online chat feature that cannot be turned off and Common Sense Media does not recommend games with open chat for kids under 13. You can find out more about this game in this Fortnite Parents Guide. Common Sense Media is a great place to start if you want to find out more about games and other media that our young people are using and watching.

Tim Elmore also suggests that parents monitor their children’s social media and provides some practical tips in his blog post. We should encourage our young people to engage in robust discussions about what they are watching, however they will switch off if it sounds like a lecture. There is more practical information in this blog post from the Office of Film and Literature Classifications.

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