Morals in the Media: How Movies, TV, Games And Books Can Teach Morals

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Whether you’re a parent, a teacher or simply looking to adjust your own morals, the media can be a great tool for teaching new values. Here are a few ways in which movies, TV programmes, games and books can be used to teach morals.


There are many movies with a moral message. Many kids’ films in particular teach strong moral lessons – a film like Nanny McPhee is an obvious lesson on obedience and honesty, whilst a film like Shrek may have less obvious lessons about not judging people based on their appearance. Other movies more aimed at an adult audience may aim to question morals rather than providing an answer such Capote and A Clockwork Orange. These movies are great for sparking debate and encouraging more independent insight.


TV programmes work much in the same way as movies by working in a visual manner. The difference is that they may be shorter or longer in their delivery – they may explore a moral issue in a single episode or dedicate an entire series to exploring a moral issue. As with films, kids’ TV shows tend to promote more straightforward morals, whilst adult TV shows may explore more complex moral dilemmas.


There are also games out there that aim to explore morality. This can allow a more interactive experience. Board games such as Deliverance explore straightforward morals of good and evil through angels and demons. How do angels look? In this game they are portrayed as human, making them more relatable. Video games aren’t always as successful at teaching morals (although that isn’t to say that just because a video game is violent, it’s automatically immoral), although there are some that do offer deliberately tough decisions such as Mass Effect. Games also teach determination and the willingness to not give up.


Many books also explore morals. The beauty of books is that they can do this in more explicit detail, whilst at the same time leaving a certain amount up to interpretation (at least a good book does anyway). Obviously, there are religious texts such as the Bible and Koran, but there are also many novels that explore morals such as The Great Gatsby and The Hunger Games. Books require a lot more work to engage with than other forms of media, and they themselves can teach the importance of perseverance and making one’s own interpretation.