This is a conversation topic lesson plan for adults and mature teens about the subject of the current age restrictions for films, video games and music. You will need this handout.
Put students into small groups of 3-4 and give each a copy of the handout. Start by answering the first question yourself in front of the class; give them a brief summary of the last film you watched, any shocking scenes is contained and what the age restriction was. Then encourage them to ask and answer the questions in their groups.
When all groups have finished have them feedback to the rest of the class, encourage the groups to retell the information they have learned about their group members, for example:
“Carlos said that Jurassic Park had given him terrible nightmares.”
“Montse said that she didn’t think anybody followed the age restriction rules.”
Then have the students turn the paper over and discuss part two, in which the groups must discuss appropriate age limits for different movie/TV content, afterwards they will discuss the effect theses things could have on impressionable children. Have students feedback to the class as before.
Here is the handout in full:
- What was the last film you saw at the cinema/on TV/DVD/on the internet?
- Briefly describe the film to your group.
- What was the age limit?
- Did the film contain any shocking scenes?
- What’s the scariest/most shocking film/TV show you’ve ever seen?
- Do you remember any specific films or TV shows that had a big effect on you when you were younger? Did any films give you nightmares?
- What’s your opinion of the current system for age limits on films? (U, PG, 12A etc.)
- Do you think people follow the system?
- If you have children do you let them watch films with a higher age limit than their age?
- Did these limits exist when you were a child?
- Did your parents let you watch films with a higher age limit than your age?
- Do you know the rules for what can and can’t be shown on TV? Do TV stations edit/censor parts of films when they are on TV? (For example in the UK violent films or films containing nudity can only be shown after the ”watershed” (9pm)
Look at the following list. In your groups discuss each item and think about an age limit for each one. Also think about the effect each one could have on young children. Share any experiences you have.
- How have films/TV shows changed during your lifetime? Do they contain more or less of the things in the list?
- What changes would you make to censorship laws/age restrictions if you were in government?
- Whose responsibility is it to make sure that children are not exposed to things they shouldn’t see? Parents? Government?
- What effect do you think violent films, TV shows and videogames have on children and people in general?
- Can you think of specific examples of games/shows/films that cross the line? (that are too violent)