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Character Strengths and Life Skills

How can I use media to teach my kid compassion?

Many parents worry that spending so much time with screens will wear down kids' ability to be compassionate. But that's not necessarily true. What matters is the kind of media and tech kids are using, the quality of their interactions, and the environments they're participating in (think supportive online forum vs. anonymous gossip site). You can help kids choose media, including movies, TV shows, and online tools, that teaches compassion. Here are some ideas for using media to teach compassion:

Movies, TV, and Books:

  • Ask questions about characters on shows to help your kid relate to them.
  • Avoid media with negative stereotypes or hate speech and media that mocks people.
  • Emphasize the consequences that movie and TV characters face for not being compassionate.
  • Seek out movies and TV shows that inspire compassion.

Social Media, Apps, Games, and Websites:

  • Find games that rely on and reward cooperation with other players.
  • Seek out social media and games that have a warm, welcoming environment.
  • Teach kids to publicly stand up for victims of cyberbullying.
  • Discuss whether being anonymous makes people more or less compassionate.