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Teacher Lesson Return to "Skins: The Most Dangerous TV Show?"
Skins: The Most Dangerous TV Show?
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Media/News Literacy Lesson: Do TV and other media portray teens realistically?—Reading and Discussion

Objectives: Help teens think critically about media portrayals of teens.

Before the lesson: Write this list on a board or easel pad:

Drug use
Alcohol use
Crime and violence
Recklessness and risk taking
Slacking off

Introduce the lesson/discussion: Tell the group they are going to read an article about Skins, an MTV show that depicts teens using drugs, having sex, getting into fights, etc.

Ask each member of the group to think of one teenage character in a movie, TV show, or book that is a positive role model: doing well in school, doing chores, etc. Then ask them to think of one character who is the opposite: Someone who is cutting school, using drugs, not helping at home, drinking, etc.

Say something like, “Are there more ‘good’ teens or ‘bad’ teens on TV, and other media? Why do you think that is?”

Read the story: You can ask the group to read the story silently or ask for volunteers to read parts out loud. Before they start reading, ask them to look at the list on the board.
Or you can assign it as out-of-class reading. If you do that, ask them to think of “good teen/bad teen” media portrayals before they read it and come to the group with examples of each.

Discussion questions
1) Who has seen the British or American version of Skins? Does the article describe it accurately? Is the writer correct in saying that the show doesn’t look at possible bad consequences of sex, drug use, partying, etc.? Why do you think the producers made the show?

2) Is there any danger in letting teens watch show like Skins? Is there any benefit? Do teens tend to emulate TV characters’ behavior or do these show have very little impact on how teens behave?

3) Do you think the show might influence how adults think about teens? Do you think adults have accurate perceptions of teens’ lives?

4) Some people think that TV shows and other media stereotype teens and emphasize the negative things that a few teens do. Do you think Skins does that? Do other shows or movies depict teens in bad ways? If so, why do you think the people who produce these shows do this?

Skins Controversy: Practice for Regents Exam Reading Section

Objectives: Students will improve skills needed to do well on the Regents reading section.

What the teacher needs to know to use this lesson: The new Regents English exam has a reading section that requires students to read a passage and answer six multiple-choice questions.

Give Your Students Directions
Put these directions on the board or read them slowly:

Read the story up until you see the sub headline “No Consequences.” Don’t read beyond that sub headline. Then circle the correct answers on the sheet.

Answer key: 1) 4 2) 2 3) 3 4) 4 5) 2 6) 1

Regents Practice Question Sheet


1) What is the main activity of the PTC?
1) Sue networks over sexy TV shows
2) Educate teens about shows
3) Get the government to censor shows
4) Alert parents about TV shows

2) According to the writer, what is one appeal of Skins to teens?
1) Parents hate it
2) The actors are attractive
3) The plots are great
4) It has caused controversy

3) Why is Skins different from other shows, according to the writer?
1) It originated in England
2) It doesn’t have famous actors
3) Skins is more realistic
4) Skins is more entertaining

4) How do the producers of the new Skins try to make it more realistic?
1) They leave in curse words
2) They use total nudity
3) They study Gossip Girl episodes
4) They ask teens about the plots

5) What would be a good alternative title for this story?
1) Porn Shouldn’t Be Censored
2) Parents Group Reacts to a Sexy Show
3) Skins Shows How Most Teens Live
4) New Skins Not As Racy As Original

6) What does the author think about censoring the show?
1) It won’t protect teens
2) It is unconstitutional
3) The government has already censored it
4) It’s OK to censor it for pre-teens
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