The Importance of Media Literacy: Helping Children be Media and Life Wise - Part 2


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The Issue - Learn how youth are using the using various media outlets on a day to day basis and wht we as educators can do to ensure that they are making safe, healthy and informed decisions about their life.

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  • At this point, you are probably asking, “What does the research say about the importance of media literacy and how is it connected to the health of our children?”
  • All you have to do is watch a group of young people during the course of a typical day. They are anatomically attached to their cell phone, texting messages with incredible speed and dexterity. They have invented their own digital language to communicate efficiently on-line. They are plugged in turned on or tuned in to just about any digital device you could imagine and according to the latest research, this is just the tip of the ‘Virtual Iceberg’ as all indicators point to increased usage down the line.
  • Kids today not only use media in its various formats, but they create it and distribute it as well. Sadly, this is often done while they are alone, without the guidance of adults.
    That is why it is so important for us to actively engage our students in learning important skills related to making safe, informed and balanced choices about media and life.
  • Clearly, kids are spending too much time engaged in “screen time” and not enough time being active.
    Whether it is watching television, playing a hand held video game, surfing the net, engaging in social networking, kids are spending more than 7 hours every day in a sedentary mode.
  • According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Generation M2 Media Study, released in January 2010, the past 5 years has shown an increase in the use of almost all media as you can see on this chart.
    Since 2005, young people have increased the amount of time they spend consuming media by an hour and seventeen minutes daily, from 6:21 to 7:38—almost the amount of time most adults spend at work each day, except that young people use media seven days a week instead of five.
    Moreover, given the amount of time they spend using more than one medium at a time, today’s youth pack a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes worth of media content into those daily 7½ hours—an increase of almost 2¼ hours of media exposure per day over the past five years.
  • However, according to a new study by Netpop Research in the U.S., the greatest increase is in mobile media with activity on social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook showing an increase in usage of 93% between 2006 and 2008.
    “Social Networkers U.S.: Who They Are and What They Mean for Next-Generation Online Advertising.”
  • And how are our kids communicating with each other? As you can see from this recent U.S study, of the over 75% of kids that own cell phones, 88% of them use texting as their primary means of communication, sending between 50 and 200 text messages per day.
    But face-to-face communication is favoured by only 33% of kids 12-17, which raises some additional important questions.
  • Have our kids lost the ability to communicate with each other in the same room? Does this affect the elements of empathy, tolerance or understanding when talking or texting about someone else?
    Is it easier to express yourself without the recipient seeing your face?
    Clearly, there are arguments for both sides, but what is really important is that in today’s world, kids conduct their relationships digitally and therefore, we need to make sure that we are arming our children with the tools to do so safely and responsibly.
  • On the health side, the latest research from Active Healthy Kids Canada tells us that over one fourth of our kids are overweight or obese and 88% of them are not meeting the 90 minutes of recommended physical activity to promote optimum health.
    It also reminds us that this issue is affecting even the younger children with a combined total of over 21% of children aged 2-5 being overweight or obese.
  • Both the World Health Organization and the Institute of Medicine have highlighted healthy eating, active living and media literacy as important strategies on the issue of childhood obesity. For information and lesson plans regarding healthy eating and active living, visit
    This webinar is focusing on the third pillar, Media Literacy and will discuss how improved media literacy can play a role in reducing childhood overweight and obesity as well as contribute to the general health and well being of our kids.
  • What is concerning is that although media can actually be a wonderful teaching tool and can connect people all over the world, the way young people are using it can have huge implications for their physical, emotional and social health.
    When kids believe everything they see on the screen and when they become close to a set of virtual friends that they have never met, it is time to intervene.
  • It is important for us as adults to help our kids to learn about balancing sedentary activities with physically active times.
    It is important for us to help kids see what goes on behind the scenes to create media so they can distinguish between what is real and what is not.
    We need to help kids learn how to understand and interpret media messages; how to ask questions and use critical thinking to make wise decisions.
    In other words, we need to teach Media Literacy
  • There are many definitions for the term media literacy, but for the purposes of this webinar let’s think of it as the ability to deconstruct, analyse, evaluate and reconstruct media messages.
    If kids understand that all media is constructed and directed to a specific group for a specific purpose, they will be in a better position to make informed, healthy choices.
  • By partnering with the Media Awareness Network who provided us with valuable information and research about the connections that exist between kids’ media use and health, CCA embarked on a social marketing campaign called, “Media Monkey.”
  • The first step was to use this research to create and air the “Media Monkey” PSA to remind kids that they have the ability and the know how to make choices that are right for them.
    To watch, Just click the link on your screen entitled, “Media Monkey”
  • Following the key learning from the research, “Media Monkey” was designed to get kids to stop and think about their media use. We want them to start talking about media time and usage with the adults in their lives and we want to empower them to make smart, informed choices that are right for them.
    Clearly, a 30 second commercial aired across Canada is an effective tool but you can only say so much in 30 seconds!
  • CCA recognizes the importance of reaching all Canadians with these important messages. In this regard we are working to try to speak to as many cultures as possible.
    We have already translated our Media Monkey PSA into several languages, including:
    Cantonese; and
  • And that is why we created the on-line educational micro-site. By providing opportunities for kids, parents and educators to actively engage in meaningful discussions and activities, we are extending the learning into the schools, homes health and child care facilities across Canada.
  • The Importance of Media Literacy: Helping Children be Media and Life Wise - Part 2

    1. 1. PART TWO The Issue
    2. 2. Part 2 - The Issue “In this century, the mass media have come to rival parents, school, and religion as the most influential institution in children's lives.” ~ Media and Values Magazine Image From Microsoft Clip Art
    3. 3. Today’s Children are Media Savvy • Consumers; • Creators; and • Distributors of content. Images From Microsoft Clip Art
    4. 4. *GENERATION M2: Media in the lives of 8-18 yr olds. A Kaiser Family Foundation Study, January 2010 • More than 7 hrs./day screen time • More than 53 hours per week * Media Use
    5. 5. *GENERATION M2: Media in the lives of 8-18 yr olds. A Kaiser Family Foundation Study, January 2010 Big Changes
    6. 6. *GENERATION M2: Media in the lives of 8-18 yr olds. A Kaiser Family Foundation Study, January 2010 Increase in Mobile Media Use
    7. 7. How do kids communicate? Images From Microsoft Clip Art
    8. 8. Implications? • Isolation? • Empathy? • Tolerance? • Values? Image From Microsoft Clip Art
    9. 9. Are They Healthy? • 26% of Canada’s Kids are overweight or obese; • Only 12% of Canadian children and youth meet the 90 minutes/day activity guideline; • 15.2% of 2-5-year-olds are overweight ; and • 6.3% are obese. • Children who become obese before the age of six are likely to: – Be obese later in childhood; and – Have a 25-50% increased risk of being obese as adults Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth, 2010
    10. 10. 3 Pillars • World Health Organization • Institute of Medicine Images From Microsoft Clip Art
    11. 11. What does this mean for our kids? • Virtual friends are replacing real friends • Online information has perceived credibility • Physical, emotional, social implications Images From Microsoft Clip Art
    12. 12. What do we need to do? Teach children to : • Ask questions • Learn how to understand and interpret media • Make balanced life choices that are right for them Image From Microsoft Clip Art
    13. 13. • Media literacy education is the key to positive behavioural change, the development of critical thinking skills and the ability to make smart choices. What is media literacy? • The ability to deconstruct, analyze, evaluate, and reconstruct media messages. deconstruct analyze evaluate reconstruct Teach, Don’t Protect
    14. 14. Research Experts • CCA partnered with Canada’s foremost issue expert on media literacy, Media Awareness Network (MNet)
    15. 15. Introducing… Media Monkey
    16. 16. Media Monkey • “Media Monkey” empowers young people to make safe, balanced and healthy choices that are right for them and opens the door for meaningful discussion about media, health and planning for healthy futures. Image From Microsoft Clip Art
    17. 17. Reaching All Canadians • The “Media Monkey” was designed to positively influence Canadian children to develop the confidence to make healthy, informed choices, regardless of their cultural background. • Targets: – English and French speaking Canada • Canadian children, ages 9-12 (boys and girls) • Parents, teachers and other caregivers – Multicultural Canada • Children, ages 9-12 (boys and girls) • Parents
    18. 18. More “Media Monkey” • At School • At Home • In the Community – Child Care – Health Care