Elementary Schoolers : Ages 6 - 10
During this stage of development, your students are learning to become a part of the larger world through school, activities, and friends. They become more independent, begin to understand cause and effect, and learn to reflect on their own actions. During this stage it is important to encourage development in these areas:
So how does media fit into these needs of elementary school students?
Television and Movies
A good way to explain this balance to parents is to put it in terms of nutrition. Everyone needs food, and it is a parent's job to ensure that their kids have a healthy diet. This means thinking about the quality and the quantity of what their children eat. In the same way, parents can promote a healthy media diet.
Parents need to take the time to look at the quality and content of the television and movies their children watch. At this age, children are very vulnerable to suggestion. Seeing violence, alcohol, tobacco, and sexual behavior in the media can be harmful.
Encourage parents to monitor how much time their children spend in front of the screen in order to avoid overweight and other concerns. Since children of this age group are now in school, they understand the concept of weekdays versus weekends. This is the ideal time to establish time limits for media.
Taking the nutrition example one step further, CMCH recommends that parents' treat physical activity, schoolwork, family time, and sleep as the "meat and potatoes" of your children's life. These activities need to take priority in their lives, while media use should be considered "dessert" -- a treat to be consumed in moderation.
Research has shown that around age seven, children begin to understand the purpose of advertising. They realize that commercials are shown to get them to want to buy things.
This is the perfect time to introduce media literacy to your students. They will feel empowered by knowing the "tricks" behind advertising.
At this age, children start to use the internet. While educational games and the research possibilities of the internet are good benefits of using computers, teachers can encourage Internet safety to avoid the many risks of using the web.
Some candy and junk-food companies have websites with computer games that advertise their products. This is called "advergaming," and many children are attracted to these sites.
As we mentioned with television, encourage parents to monitor how much time their children spend playing video games. Since children of this age group are now in school, they understand the concept of weekdays versus weekends. This is the ideal time for parents to establish time limits.
Additionally, encourage parents to monitor the kinds of games their kids are playing. Violent video games teach that violence is an acceptable way to solve problems.
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