At this age, teens:
Mix with other genders and become more flexible about stereotypes. Become preoccupied with their future careers, as well as appearance.
Want to learn gender-based expectations for how to behave in romantic and sexual situations.
Choose what they want to watch and are willing to discuss abstract ideas (and don’t want to be lectured to).
What you can do
Look for shows that feature boys and men expressing their emotions in constructive ways, having diverse interests (other than only sex), and being kind or friendly to non-heterosexual characters. Check out This Is Us and point out how the fathers are shown as nurturing and thoughtful. Or watch The King’s Speech, about King George the VI, who must reveal his biggest vulnerability. Ask, “Can a man, or a boy, be both strong and sensitive?”
Point out when female characters voice their own needs. Watch an ensemble show such as Brooklyn Nine-Nine and note how the female characters don’t defer to the men.
Find characters who have non-gender-stereotypical professional aspirations (girls who want to be scientists and boys who want to be nurses). Consider a show like Bones, which features a strong female lead in a traditionally male-dominated profession.
Common Sense Media (www.commonsense. org.) is an independent nonprofit organisation helping families make smart media and technology choices.