Media Smart Impact Report 2023

“Ensuring that young people are equipped with the knowledge and tools for how to navigate the media and technology landscape safely and to its full potential is so essential for our industry and only continues to escalate in importance.

Extending our focus this year to also educating young people around career opportunities in the media and advertising industry has also been an exciting step forward for Media Smart this year.”

Message from Media Smart’s Chair, Dan Clays, Chief Executive of OMG EMEA

Boost students’ news literacy skills as they return to school

As our young people head back to school, it’s important that they continue to develop the key skills of media literacy – resilience, empathy, creativity, communication and critical thinking. So, I’m pleased to be able to share information from our partner, First News Education, whose Creating News Reading Communities school resource has been built specifically to help teachers boost their students’ news literacy skills, enabling them to navigate today’s media landscape with confidence.

At First News, their fundamental belief is that, if the world is to become a better place, the next generation has to be better informed than the last. Since their launch in 2006, they’ve been committed to publishing unbiased, non-partisan news written especially for 7-13 year olds and their school resources further that mission by developing kids’ ability to identify fact, opinion and bias, and to tell the reliable news from the fake.

An independent evaluation by the National Literacy Trust, found pupils made significantly more reading progress than expected and a particular improvement in their inference and deduction skills when classes used First News’ resources as part of their regular curriculum. First News worked with the NLT to develop a resource pack enabling teachers to harness the benefits of news reading in their classroom community.  These activities are designed to make it easy for you to introduce news reading to your pupils and, ultimately, to encourage these students to become regular news readers.

A newspaper is a unique type of non-fiction text that exposes children to a wide range of topics, opinions, issues and types of information, on a regular schedule. Reading a newspaper takes them on a journey around the world, increasing their understanding of different places, people and ways of life. Along the way, they encounter stories from all areas of the curriculum.

Young people enjoy the element of choice involved in reading news, meaning they read it for pleasure as well as for information, and they particularly love to be informed about the world around them. The effort needed is relatively low due to the concise style of writing; even reluctant readers can access and enjoy reading news from just a few short paragraphs.

Recent world events mean that primary-aged children have begun discussing news in the playground. This, alongside the rise of social media, means the need to question and analyse the information we come across has never been more important. Primary pupils need to understand how news is put together, the difference between reliable and unreliable sources and to build up critical media literacy skills before they have unguided access to the internet.

Bringing news into the classroom supports children to consider controversial topics and understand different points of view. It also provides a chance to discuss any misunderstandings or worries they have in a structured, safe setting.

Sign up now to receive First News’ Creating News Reading Communities email taster course and harness the power of news reading in your classroom this autumn term.

Good luck with the new school year and we hope you enjoy these fantastic resources from First News!

Best wishes

Rachel Barber-Mack

Director of Media Smart

P.S. Did you know we have 11 FREE resources for educators, parents and guardians? Including lessons, films and guides on Body Image, Social Media,  Influencer Marketing, Piracy & IP, Creative Careers, TikTok and Instagram.

Here are a few of the latest ones available for you to download and share today…

How to Spot Greenwashing

For 11-17 yrs | Key stage 3, 4 & 5

Greenwashing is when companies use marketing to appear more environmentally friendly than they are. And according to the UK Government, 40% of ‘green’ claims made online could be misleading.

With our unique focus on advertising literacy, we have invaluable insights from young people on this topic and Media Smart is delighted to announce that we’ve created a simple five-point guide and short film which can be shared in the classroom, assembly or at home explaining what greenwashing is… so young people can spot it, report it and ultimately help to stop it.

TikTok: Adverts, Creators and You

For 13-17 yrs / Secondary school / Key stage 3, 4 & 5 / + SEND version

This exciting, film-based educational resource, featuring successful TikTok Creators, will empower 13-17 year-olds with the tools they need to navigate TikTok’s commercial side, ensuring they have the most positive online experience possible. It should also assist teachers, parents and carers who want to supplement their own knowledge to help young people confidently and securely use the platform.

Influencer Marketing

For 11-14 yrs / Secondary school / Key stage 3

Media Smart’s latest resource is aimed at helping teens understand the commercial link between social influencers and the brands they may be promoting. The rising number of social influencers in young people’s lives has prompted us to create a film-based PSHE teaching resource, the first of its kind to tackle this area of marketing.

How to manage your online advert experience

For 11-16 yrs / Secondary school / Key stage 3

In this new resource, we feature an animated film and classroom materials to support pupil discussions around interest-based advertising, why it exists, and how young people can best manage it. Students may be surprised to learn that this sort of advertising funds so many of the free platforms they use every day, from apps and websites to search engines.

Mindful Photography with Show and Tell Photo

This month, I wanted to introduce Media Smart’s incredible new partners, Show and Tell Photo, who support 9-18-year-olds with their mental health and media literacy through mindful photography.

No special equipment is ever necessary, and the Show and Tell Photo experience is simple and effective: your students can watch free online workshops by superstar photographers like Rankin and Jane Stockdale to learn about mindful photography, practice the tips and tasks and finally use those new mindful photography skills to visualise and share their emotions for the annual ‘How Are You Feeling?’ exhibition.

Their approach, ‘photography for life, not likes’, is now used by 700 schools and thousands of children worldwide. The ‘How Are You Feeling?’ exhibition has attracted nearly 55,000 submissions – so please get your young people involved too!

Show and Tell Photo’s professional education resources have been designed by creative leaders and mental health experts. All online and on-demand, check out their website for free PSHE sessions and online workshops and prepare to be astounded by the work created – go on, take a moment here and here.

We’ll collaborate in the future and look forward to sharing more details with you soon. You can also register your school on www.showandtellphoto.com to receive direct news updates.

“I started working with my classes and small groups before promoting this on a whole school basis. This not only encourages pupils to start talking about Mental Health but it is improving pupil’s confidence, communication skills and understanding”. Lisa M Ward, Maesteg School

Thank you for your support
Rachel Barber-Mack
Director of Media Smart

P.S. We have 11 FREE resources for educators, parents and guardians, including lessons, films and guides on Body Image, Social Media,  Influencer Marketing, Piracy & IP, Creative Careers, TikTok and Instagram.

Here are a few of the latest ones available to download and share today…

How to Spot Greenwashing

For 11-17 yrs | Key stage 3, 4 & 5

Greenwashing is when companies use marketing to appear more environmentally friendly than they are. And according to the UK Government, 40% of ‘green’ claims made online could be misleading.
Our unique focus on advertising literacy gives us invaluable insights from young people on this topic. Media Smart is delighted to announce that we’ve created a simple five-point guide and a short film which can be shared in the classroom, assembly or at home explaining what greenwashing is… so young people can spot it, report it and ultimately help to stop it.

TikTok: Adverts, Creators and You

For 13-17 yrs / Secondary school / Key stage 3, 4 & 5 / + SEND version

This exciting, film-based educational resource featuring successful TikTok Creators will empower 13-17-year-olds with the tools they need to navigate TikTok’s commercial side, ensuring they have the most positive online experience possible. It should also assist teachers, parents and carers who want to supplement their knowledge to help young people confidently and securely use the platform.

Influencer Marketing

For 11-14 yrs / Secondary school / Key stage 3

Media Smart’s latest resource is aimed at helping teens understand the commercial link between social influencers and the brands they may be promoting. The rising number of social influencers in young people’s lives has prompted us to create a film-based PSHE teaching resource, the first of its kind to tackle this area of marketing.

How to manage your online advert experience

For 11-16 yrs / Secondary school / Key stage 3

In this new resource, we feature an animated film and classroom materials to support pupil discussions around interest-based advertising, why it exists, and how young people can best manage it. Students may be surprised to learn that this sort of advertising funds so many free platforms they use daily, from apps and websites to search engines.

#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

This week is #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek and I wanted to share a few resources with you.

Marking this week in the calendar provides an opportunity to promote relevant education and resources for young people, helping them better understand their mental well-being and recognise when they need support. It can also help reduce mental health stigma, making it easier for them to talk about their experiences and seek advice without fear of judgement.

If you want to promote #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, The Mental Health Foundation is its home. Each year, they choose a particular topic to focus on, anxiety is this year’s theme and the campaign runs from 15 to 21 May.

Find out more and get involved, using the hashtags: #MentalHealthAwareness #ToHelpMyAnxiety https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/mhaw

Next is the 15-minute film we created with First News – the Boys’ Biggest Conversation, featuring Dr Ranj, downloaded over 28,000 times by educators and carers. It’s a fantastic teaching resource for a school assembly or PSHE lessons. Parents can even watch it with their children at home. View the educational resources here.

We’re excited to read Dr Ranj’s new book, launched last week, on ‘How To Be Boy’. Described as an empowering and inclusive guide to masculinity for readers aged 10+ by the nation’s favourite doctor.

And finally, check out this new report from Ofcom that explores how media literacy can support positive mental health. Find out more about the 14 initiatives (including Media Smart’s Boys’ Biggest Conversation body image case study) tackling this groundbreaking area.

By promoting mental health awareness, we can empower and equip young people to manage their mental well-being – setting them up for a brighter future.

Thank you for your support.

Rachel Barber-Mack
Director of Media Smart

P.S. Did you know we have 11 FREE resources for educators, parents and guardians? Including lessons, films and guides on Body Image, Social Media, Influencer Marketing, Piracy & IP, Creative Careers, TikTok and Instagram.

Here are a few of the latest ones available for you to download and share today…

How to Spot Greenwashing

For 11-17 yrs | Key stage 3, 4 & 5

Greenwashing is when companies use marketing to appear more environmentally friendly than they are. And according to the UK Government, 40% of ‘green’ claims made online could be misleading.

With our unique focus on advertising literacy, we have invaluable insights from young people on this topic and Media Smart is delighted to announce that we’ve created a simple five-point guide and short film which can be shared in the classroom, assembly or at home explaining what greenwashing is… so young people can spot it, report it and ultimately help to stop it.

TikTok: Adverts, Creators and You

For 13-17 yrs / Secondary school / Key stage 3, 4 & 5 / + SEND version

This exciting, film-based educational resource, featuring successful TikTok Creators, will empower 13-17 year-olds with the tools they need to navigate TikTok’s commercial side, ensuring they have the most positive online experience possible. It should also assist teachers, parents and carers who want to supplement their own knowledge to help young people confidently and securely use the platform.

Influencer Marketing

For 11-14 yrs / Secondary school / Key stage 3

Media Smart’s latest resource is aimed at helping teens understand the commercial link between social influencers and the brands they may be promoting. The rising number of social influencers in young people’s lives has prompted us to create a film-based PSHE teaching resource, the first of its kind to tackle this area of marketing.

How to manage your online advert experience

For 11-16 yrs / Secondary school / Key stage 3

In this new resource, we feature an animated film and classroom materials to support pupil discussions around interest-based advertising, why it exists, and how young people can best manage it. Students may be surprised to learn that this sort of advertising funds so many of the free platforms they use every day, from apps and websites to search engines.

How to spot Greenwashing

Did you know that 52% of teenagers are concerned about the lack of action on climate change? And that it’s contributing to 56% of them feeling anxious.

One of Media Smart’s goals for 2023 was to raise awareness of Greenwashing.

Greenwashing is when companies use marketing to appear more environmentally friendly than they are. And according to the UK Government, 40% of ‘green’ claims made online could be misleading.

With our unique focus on advertising literacy we have invaluable insights from young people on this topic and Media Smart is delighted to announce that we’ve created a guide for educators, parents and young people on Greenwashing so they can spot it, report it and ultimately help to stop it.

Spot it, report it and ultimately help to stop it.

We’ve also created a social media awareness campaign with a series of short vox pox films from young people, supported by a simple five-point guide with further information.

Media Smart wants to help increase awareness of the issue amongst young people and support the fantastic work the Advertising Standards Authority is doing in this area.

The campaign will be rolled out on Media Smart’s social media channels during March and April, reaching young people, teachers and parents directly.

Download the new Greenwashing guide here.

And support our campaign on your social channels:

It is just the start of the ‘conversation’ with young people around Greenwashing, but an incredibly important one for Media Smart to initiate…

Thank you for your support.

Rachel Barber-Mack
Director of Media Smart

P.S. did you know we have 11 FREE resources for educators, parents and guardians? Including lessons, films and guides on Body Image, Social Media, Influencer Marketing, Piracy & IP, Creative Careers, TikTok and Instagram.

Here are a few of the latest ones available for you to download and share today…

TikTok: Adverts, Creators and You

For 13-17 yrs / Secondary school / Key stage 3, 4 & 5 / + SEND version

This exciting, film-based educational resource, featuring successful TikTok Creators, will empower 13-17 year olds with the tools they need to navigate TikTok’s commercial side, ensuring they have the most positive online experience possible. It should also assist teachers, parents and carers who want to supplement their own knowledge to help young people confidently and securely use the platform.

Influencer Marketing

For 11-14 yrs / Secondary school / Key stage 3

Media Smart’s latest resource is aimed at helping teens understand the commercial link between social influencers and the brands they may be promoting. The rising number of social influencers in young people’s lives has prompted us to create a film-based PSHE teaching resource, the first of its kind to tackle this area of marketing.

How to manage your online advert experience

For 11-16 yrs / Secondary school / Key stage 3

In this new resource, we feature an animated film and classroom materials to support pupil discussions around interest-based advertising, why it exists, and how young people can best manage it. Students may be surprised to learn that this sort of advertising funds so many of the free platforms they use every day, from apps and websites to search engines.

Media Smart Impact Report 2022

“We’re incredibly proud of the ‘firsts’ Media Smart has achieved this year, which include our SEND-adapted resources with DCMS, and launching an in-school delivery programme with OMG UK that introduces students from under-represented backgrounds to careers in advertising and media.

Media Smart has important plans for 2023. It is clear young people need more support than ever before, and – whilst we recognise the enormous challenges thrown at businesses in the current economic climate – we strongly believe that now is a crucial time for the advertising industry to be supporting teens, with both media literacy and inspirational (and attainable) career pathways.”

Rachel Barber-Mack, Director of Media Smart

New SEND (special education needs and disabilities) resources

I am delighted to be able to share some exciting news with you – Media Smart has been awarded a DCMS grant to adapt and create a new SEND (special education needs and disabilities) version of our popular film-based educational resource – ‘TikTok: Adverts, Creators and You’ – and it’s now available to download. For use in PSHE and Media Studies – Key Stage 3, 4 5.

Media Smart is one of only five organisations to be awarded the funding by DCMS. This is the first time we have adapted our resources for SEND pupils and our ambition is to use the research to future proof and adapt all our resources so they will be more inclusive for all students.

These adapted SEND teaching resources and films feature successful TikTok Creators and will empower 13 to 17-year-olds with the tools they need to navigate TikTok’s commercial side, ensuring they have the most positive online experience possible.

It will also assist teachers, parents and carers who want to supplement their own knowledge to help young people confidently and securely use TikTok.

We cannot wait to hear what you and your students think of these materials. There are two lessons which include ‘TikTok’ style films featuring our incredible content creators – who bring this important subject to life in the most authentic way possible.

If you’re looking for something current and engaging that provides young people with an insight into how social media can be enjoyed critically whilst also giving them an insight into online advertising, you’ve found it!

Please share these new SEND teaching resources with your schools and parents, we’re so proud of these resources and think it brings a whole new opportunity to the school.

Rachel Barber-Mack
Director of Media Smart

P.S. did you know we have 11 FREE resources for educators, parents and guardians? Including lessons, films and guides on Advertising, Body Image, Social Media and Influencer Marketing. Here are a few of the latest ones available for you to download and share today…

Influencer Marketing

For 11-14 yrs / Secondary school / Key stage 3

Media Smart’s latest resource is aimed at helping teens understand the commercial link between social influencers and the brands they may be promoting. The rising number of social influencers in young people’s lives has prompted us to create a film-based PSHE teaching resource, the first of its kind to tackle this area of marketing.

How to manage your online advert experience

For 11-16 yrs / Secondary school / Key stage 3

In this new resource, we feature an animated film and classroom materials to support pupil discussions around interest-based advertising, why it exists, and how young people can best manage it. Students may be surprised to learn that this sort of advertising funds so many of the free platforms they use every day, from apps and websites to search engines.

Piracy: What’s the big deal?

For 11-14 yrs / Secondary school / Key stage 3

Did you know one in four over 12s have illegally downloaded film content in the last three months? That’s the highest rate of piracy in the UK in the previous five years. At Media Smart, we have teamed up with Sky, The Industry Trust, The Intellectual Property Office, and MPA to develop a new PSHE accredited secondary school resource to help young people understand piracy and IP infringement implications.

Media Smart is hiring a Digital Marketing Manager

We are an award-winning, non-profit, education programme from the advertising industry. Our mission is to ensure that every child in the UK aged 7 – 16 can confidently navigate the media they consume, including being able to identify, interpret and critically evaluate all forms of advertising.

Media Smart provides free teaching resources and parent guides on subjects like social media, body image, influencer marketing, piracy and creative careers. Thousands of UK teachers have been using our media and digital literacy materials since 2002.

As Digital Marketing Manager, you will be responsible for content marketing and social media marketing strategies to build a brand identity and online presence by creating and distributing multimedia content online. This involves developing content strategies, creating valuable content, growing our audience, driving traffic to our website, and tracking our community’s growth.

Teens and screens: Exploring the relationship between 10 to 16 year-olds and advertising.

Today’s media landscape is in constant flux, and young people are exposed to more online advertising than ever before. Media Smart teamed up with youth centred creative business, Livity, to commission and conduct this report, which dives into the digital behaviours of 10 to 16 year-olds today.

Media Smart is the award-winning, non-profit education programme from the advertising industry.

Our mission is to ensure that every child in the UK, aged 7 – 16, can confidently navigate the media they consume including being able to identify, interpret and critically evaluate all forms of advertising.

We saw an opportunity to explore the topic of teaching advertising literacy among young people. The aim? To uncover their true understanding of digital advertising, find out the things they need extra support with, and establish what they need to help with to stay safe online.