Although there are no major national holidays in August (U.S.), August is pretty synonymous with Back-to-School activities. Back to early mornings, bus rides, PTA meetings, and the hustle and bustle that comes with it. Whether your kids resume classes in August or September, it means a shift in routines, styles of dress and hair, new slang terminology, increased peer interaction, influences and attitudes. Most of the latter are affected greatly by the types and amount of media we consume here in the U.S.
No doubt, today’s youth are growing up in the most media-saturated world of our time. To them, the internet is a regular way of life–they don’t know of anything else. They can get news and information whenever they want it, whether on a computer, tablet, or their Smartphone. A 2009 Kaiser Generation survey found that 8- to 18-year olds are exposed to an average of almost 11 hours of media DAILY. They are inundated with thousands of media messages every day, and the effects and influence of print and digital media on our culture ultimately affect the self-esteem and academic success of American youth. That makes a media literacy curriculum in middle schools and high schools an absolute necessity.
Tune into this blog all week for more on how we can use media literacy education to help our children decipher the complex media messages they receive.