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5 Videos That Get Teens Thinking Critically About Media

Use these videos and quick discussion activities to spark meaningful classroom conversations.

Eisha Buch | September 20, 2019

Given the influence of media on our daily lives, it's important to give high schoolers opportunities to reflect on the media they encounter and create, and to think about how their actions online might affect others. Teens are ready to tackle complex digital citizenship topics like understanding online hate speech, how much screen time is too much, and ways to communicate with people who disagree with you. But working digital citizenship lessons into an already-packed daily schedule can be a challenge for most teachers.

For Digital Citizenship Week 2019, we've put together a series of quick video-discussion activities you can use to kick-start your commitment to digital citizenship. These can fit into a short, 15-minute window of time -- be it planned or unplanned. It's easy: Just show the video to your students, then use the questions to lead a class discussion. And if you find time to take it further, each video has a free lesson plan linked on the video page, complete with slides, students handouts, family activities, and more.

Teen Voices: Who Are You on Social Media?

Students reflect upon how they can create a social media presence that represents their real selves.

Discussion questions: How do you curate your life on social media? Which perspectives stood out to you in the video? Which did you agree or disagree with? Why?

Teen Voices: Hate Speech Online

Teens share their thoughts about online hate speech, including why they think it happens and how it affects them.

Discussion questions: What is hate speech? Have you ever encountered hate speech online? Why do you think people post hate speech? How does hate speech affect you? Others? All of us?

When Is Your Brain Ready for Social Media?

With this video, students think critically about the best age for kids to start using social media.

Discussion questions: At what age do you think you were mature enough to handle all the pros and cons of social media? What are the arguments for and against having an age requirement? Which side do you agree with? Why?

Civil Discourse Online

Students consider how to advocate for positive change and find common ground with others, even in times of great disagreement.

Discussion questions: What are some of the big takeaways from Cameron Kasky's story? What does Kasky say about debating with people who disagree with you? Do you agree?

Screen Time: How Much Is Too Much?

Through this video, students explore the possible health effects of screen time.

Discussion questions: What is the difference between active and passive use? Which type of screen time do you engage in more? What screen activities do you value, and what do you want to cut out?