Jury Coordination and Notes

Archive for July, 2008

What Makes an All-Star?

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

What makes a film or DVD so good that it get KIDS FIRST!’s highest rating? All of the products we endorse receive a one-, two- or three-star rating. We call our three-star rating an All-Star. All-Star media contain assets that are deemed beneficial to a child such as educational benefits, positive role models or they help a child figure understand their world. All-Stars should also have examplary production values. Here is a list of typical assets we examine before awarding an All-Star rating:

  • Enhance a child’s self-esteem.
  • Help children learn better ways to get along with others.
  • Enhance a child’s reasoning and thinking skills.
  • Enhance a child’s career aspirations.
  • Add richness to a child’s life, teaching him about the arts, sciences or other cultures.
  • Make a child see a connection with her own life.
  • Stimulate a child’s curiosity and creativity.
  • Enable a child to visit other places or explore other cultures and lifestyles.

Check out our online list of All-Star rated media at http://www.kidsfirst.org/status/A.html
The next time you watch a movie or DVD you or your kids really love, you can use this criteria to determine whether or not it is truly an All-star!

Your Never Too Young To Be A Film Critic!

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

Hey kids! Ever watch those shows on TV with famous film critics and wonder how they got such a fun job? Well you can become a film critic too, right from your very own couch!

Here are some questions to ask, that will help you evaluate and discuss the programs you have watched. If you practice this often enough, you will learn to view media more critically and begin to ask these questions of yourself whenever you are engaged in viewing a film, TV program or DVD. Parents can try this with their kids, no matter what age they are.

              1. Describe what happened in the film in 25 words or less.
              2. Who were the main characters and what did they do?
              3. What was your favorite part and why?
              4. Would you recommend it to a friend? If so, why?
              5. What star rating would you give this with 5 stars being high and 1 being low?

Now it’s time to let everyone know what you thought. Write your opinion about a film and print it in the “family newspaper” or start your own TV critic show where you can talk about a film, using evaluation criteria above. Broadcast your opinions!! Put your reviews on video, and you can even upload it to YouTube. Send your YouTube video to KIDS FIRST! and we will link to it on our website!

No one is too young or old to learn to be more media savvy. If you, your parent, teacher, or other adult would like to start their own Junior Film Critics Club, check out the KIDS FIRST! juror program at: http://www.kidsfirst.org/become-a-juror/

Don’t let your kids become passive!

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

Student filmmaker Ryan Wham At KIDS FIRST! we know that kids are exposed to all sorts of media. We hear the complaints about kids watching too much TV and not being active enough. That is why we think it is especially important that you don’t let your kids become passive about what they watch. There are lots of great ways to get kids more involved, both physically and intellectually, with what they watch on TV or DVD. Here are some suggestions forbecoming “active” media viewers:

  1. Become a Film Critic - ask questions to help evaluate media. Have them write their opinions about a film and print it in the “family newspaper” or start your own TV critic show whereyour kids can talk about a film (for more information about becoming a home film critic, see next week’s blog!)
  2. Take it outside! Did you learn something interesting in that movie you just watched? Did you wonder how to have a career like the one you just saw in that DVD? In order to make media watching time really count - go out and explore! Look online for resources and information. Go outside and try that messy experiment you just saw.Go to the library and borrow books or magazines.
  3. If its pure fantasy your children like, they can make up their own fun fantasy! Write a book and don’t forget to include artwork. Write a play, make costumes and production sets. Get other kids or family members to act it out. Find out about other science fiction writers and borrow books from the library.

Life is a process of learning, so try to take advantage of every learning moment and find out more!

What makes media appropriate for children?

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

At KIDS FIRST! we use a baseline criteria to determine if media is appropriate for kids to watch:

  • NO gratuitous violence or abuse
  • NO bias in terms of race, gender, culture or religion
  • NO condescension toward children
  • NO replicable unsafe behavior

In addition to this criteria, our jurors also determine the age appropriateness of everything they watch. KIDS FIRST! jurors are always careful not to rate something lower because they disagree with the producer’s age rating, but rather will rate it appropriately and show it to the correctly aged group of children. The most important factor in considering age-appropriateness in your family, is to know your kids. Some children don’t mind things that are a little scary. Others cover their eyes or leave the room whenever scary music or a mean-spirited character appears on the screen.

Since kids should never watch “inappropriate” media, adult jurors ALWAYS watch a product before viewing it with their child jurors. This is something all families should consider if they are not familiar with the TV shows, computer games, movies or other media their children want to view. If you are concerned about what your kids watch, your first line defense is to become familiar with it yourself. You can also use this time with your kids to help them become more active in their viewing experience.

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