Media World is an evidence-based program for the 21st century
What is media literacy?
Media literacy is the ability to analyze, evaluate, and ask questions about the content we read, watch, and experience. In a world dominated by interactions with media, understanding how it communicates messages and tries to shape our behavior is vital for avoiding harmful influences.
As mentioned above, pro-substance media can unhealthily impact adolescent’s attitudes toward substance use. Fortunately, media literacy education is an effective solution! By giving adolescents the tools to understand and refute unhealthy media messages, media literacy education helps them be more conscious consumers in their everyday life.
Media literacy education can help adolescents to:
Develop critical thinking skills they can use to intelligently navigate the media and filter the hundreds of media messages they receive every day.
Enhance their understanding of media message production processes, the commercial sources and beneficiaries of advertising, the ideology of messages contained in commercial and news media, and the techniques advertisers use to persuade viewers.
Recognize the persuasive intent of advertising, assess the realism of media portrayals, and question societal norms regarding behaviors such as substance use.
Media literacy education is a promising approach to school-based substance abuse intervention. Among the various outcomes associated with media literacy education are:
- Reduced interest in substance use experimentation (Scull et al., 2017; Kupersmidt et al., 2012; Kupersmidt et al., 2010)
- More accurate beliefs about rates of substance use among peers (Shensa et al., 2016, Primack et al., 2014)
- Increased media deconstruction skills (Scull et al., 2017; Kupersmidt et al., 2012; Kupersmidt et al., 2010)
- Stronger disapproval of drinking and smoking behaviors, both in real life and advertising (Draper et al., 2015)
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