How do we teach our children media literacy?

Do you remember when you learned about media literacy? I remember it well; I was 16, at 6th form college studying Communication Studies for my A levels. It was a pivotal moment for me as I remember feeling like a veil had lifted. Up until then, I’d been pretty clueless about advertising and media. It was also the moment that I realised I loved what I was learning. I wanted to learn more, and I knew that my career would definitely be in media.

Now as a Mum who works in media, how do I pass on that learning and awareness?

How do I keep up to date on this ever evolving world around me?

How do I explain what an advert is to a 6-year-old?

When’s the right time for them to be on social media?

How much screen time should they have? How do I teach them about body confidence?

I’m keen to get the balance right, my mantra has always been “I don’t mind the adverts as long as I’m aware of them”. Businesses wouldn’t survive without advertising, there has to be a value exchange*.

Recent studies are contradicting the 2 hours screen time for children. One recently published found 6 hours of screen time was nothing to worry about! Is it time to re-think those gadget battles? But if they’re going to spend so much time online then what’s the right advice? We need guidance and support when it comes to online safety, and media literacy.

At Media Smart, we provide free media literacy resources for 7–16-year-olds.

We aim to give every child the opportunity to learn and be aware.

Download our free parent and teacher resources to find out more.

*Value exchange — Most of us are used to social media being free, but not everyone realises that there is a ‘value exchange’. Whether social media is free or charges subscription fees, adverts usually finance them. This is why you sometimes have to pay to have a premium non-ad version. Source — Social Media Parent Guide — Media Smart.

Written by Ruth Gilbey — Social Media Manager for Media Smart.

Posted 28.03.17

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