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Don't Buy It: Guide for Teachers
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Teen Heroes

Extension Activity

These classroom activities correspond to the Don't Buy It game, Teen Heroes at

What are the possible consequences of viewing television violence? What impact on those consequences does the type of violence seem to make?

Note: This activity includes the viewing of children's cartoons that depict violence. Please check with parents before showing potentially objectionable content.


  • Develop an awareness of violent television content.
  • Understand reactions to various types of television violence.


  • Taped clips (five minutes in length or less) of popular TV cartoons that target young people. (Check with students for a list of the shows they're watching.)


Danielle Shimotakahara from http://pbskids.org/dontbuyit/whatyoucando/teenheroes_shimotakahara.html has campaigned against violent video games in her community. Do you think violent video games or television programs affect kids?

Have students answer the following questions.

  • What is violence? Is violence about guns? Fights? Threats?
  • What do they think is appropriate for kids their age to watch?
  • What about a younger brother or sister? And why? How might the reason be different for a two-year-old child than a nine-year-old kid?
  • Why might they be concerned about violence?

View several short clips (five-minutes in length or less) of popular children's TV shows and cartoons. Have students record the number of violent acts that occur in a segment. Watch again and have students point out the violent acts in class.

  • What acts did they consider violent?
  • How is the violence in a cartoon different from violence in shows with human actors?
  • And how is violence in a cartoon different from real-life events in the news?
  • How do students think they would react to seeing a single violent act replayed over and over on television?

Using a five-minute clip as a reference, have students determine how many violent acts would take place in similar half-hour and hour-long programs.

After viewing a violent cartoon segment or story, have students consider what would happen if the violence happened in the real world. Discuss alternative endings to the program clip viewed. Engage students in a discussion about non-violent ways to resolve conflict.


  • McREL Media Standards
    Standard 10: Understands the characteristics and components of the media. Level 2 (Grades 3-5)
    BENCHMARK: understands that media messages and products are composed of a series of separate elements (e.g., shots in movies, sections of a newspaper).
    BENCHMARK VOCABULARY: media message, product, separate elements, camera shot, movie, newspaper section.
  • McREL Media Standards
    Viewing Standard 9: Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media. Level 2 (Grade 3-5)
    BENCHMARK: understands different messages conveyed through visual media (e.g., main ideas are supporting details; facts and opinions; main characters, setting and sequence of visual narrative).


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