Question: How can you coach kids to be critical of what they see on TV?

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

I recently came across a trailer of the excellent documentary Mickey Mouse Monopoly (hat tip to Yolanda and Kai):

Mickey Mouse Monopoly takes a close and critical look at the world these films create and the stories they tell about race, gender and class and reaches disturbing conclusions about the values propagated under the guise of innocence and fun. This daring new video insightfully analyzes Disney’s cultural pedagogy, examines its corporate power, and explores its vast influence on our global culture. Including interviews with cultural critics, media scholars, child psychologists, kindergarten teachers, multicultural educators, college students and children, Mickey Mouse Monopoly will provoke audiences to confront comfortable assumptions about an American institution that is virtually synonymous with childhood pleasure.

[If you’re reading this in an RSS reader or Feedblitz email and can’t view the video, please click on the post title.]

I was particularly struck by the film’s analysis of Beauty and the Beast — I had never thought about the underlying message of the film in that way before.

What can parents do to encourage their kids to think critically about the messages they get from TV? And how do you strike a balance between allowing your children to enjoy great storytelling and educating them to be conscious of racism and sexism? Is there a point at which we over-analyze these images?

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