Ask These 5 Key Questions About Your Media Diet

5-key-questionsWhen you consume media, whether it’s watching a TV show, playing a video game, or reading an article online, and looking at an a billboard, poster or online/magazine ad, ask yourself and your kids these 5 key questions:

1. Who sent this message? (gives background/context)
2. What techniques are used to attract my attention? (artistically? flashy?)
3. How might other people understand this message? (different perspectives)
4. What values, lifestyles, and points of view are represented in or omitted from this message? (slant)
5. Why was this message sent? (gain profit/power/influence?)

Discussing these questions with your children along with the values you set will help them begin to deconstruct messages and discern the types of media they should entertain themselves with.

Being Media Savvy Does Not Mean You’re Media-Literate

Credit: Strauss/Curtis

Why is digital media and media literacy so important?  The songs young people listen to, their style of dress, and the way they interact with and treat each other (including bullying), their sexual activity or lack of, drug and alcohol abuse, teen dating violence. Self-esteem is a fundamental, root factor that affects these issues that plague teenagers. Digital media interests them (online access to music, video, and social media) and their level of media literacy affects the way they learn.

Most teen and pre-teen students are media-savvy, but most are not media literate. Media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and create media in a variety of forms.  Media literacy raises students’ awareness and teaches them critical thinking so they can be more proactive in understanding and interpreting the media messages they

Several factors* comprise media literacy, including:

  • an awareness of personal media habits
  • an understanding of how the media work
  • an appreciation of media’s power/influence
  • the ability to discern, critically question
  • an understanding of how meaning is created in media texts
  • the ability to create and produce media

* Baker, F. Media Literacy in the K-12 Classroom (ISTE, 2012)

Listen to Daree’s J.A.M. Program

They Like the Music and Media… But Are They Getting the Right Message?

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.

Listen to Daree’s J.A.M. Program

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.