As we have seen, the idea that watching something will impact on someone's behaviour has long been argued. An excellent research task for students is to investigate whether this claim is true. There is a large body of research, much of it online.
This activity is designed to make students more informed about the link between film content and behaviour.
You will need
How to do this activity
After initial discussion work, the class is split into two, with one group researching arguments which support the claim media influences people's behaviour, and one group researching arguments that the link is weak.
Good starting points
- This Canadian site MediaSmarts has a good range of links to various studies
- With this pretty 'balanced' overview if you need a starting point
Students could present their findings as a PowerPoint style presentation or as a Parliamentary-style debate.
Share & discuss
- Should the BBFC system be changed?
- If so what, if anything should replace it?
- Should anyone have the right to decide what you can and can't watch?
- Do you feel that you've ever been badly affected by something you've watched?
- How might changes in technology like internet video and on-demand TV affect regulation?
Exploring further: social studies/english
Download this information leaflet from Mediawatch on effects of sex in the media.
- What evidence does it provide that sex on screen causes problems in society?
- What persuasive techniques does the writer use?
This exercise is a good way of talking about correlation and cause
BBFC Certificates are advisory and despite a common perception it not against the law to show, for example, extracts from Schindler's List (15 certificate) in a History class of younger children. Good practice would be to inform parents first.