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Resources on Media and Media Literacy

What is media literacy and why is it important for kids?

According to a Kaiser Foundation study, kids spend the equivalent of a full-time workweek using media each week [1]. As parents, we need to make sure our kids know how to “read” the media, so that they learn what we want them to learn from it, and don't learn things we would consider to be the wrong messages. Knowing how to “read” messages in the media (including TV, movies, magazines, advertisements, computer and video games, popular music, and the Internet) is called media literacy.

Kids need to learn to:

  • Recognize how media messages influence and manipulate us.
  • Think critically about media messages—to uncover hidden messages and values.
  • Interpret media messages in ways that do not damage their self-esteem.

Here are some resources for parents and teachers:

Media guides for parents:
Some websites offer media ratings and educational guides to help parents make decisions about what might be appropriate for their kids.  Of course the best way to determine the appropriateness of a movie, TV show, or media game is to try it yourself, or view it with your child.  Here is one guide/rating site:

Media Literacy Organizations:

For Kids and Young People:


African-Americans in the Media:

Related topics on YourChild :

Related YourChild podcasts:


[1] Rideout V, Roberts DF, Foehr UG.  Generation M: media in the lives of 8-18 year-olds (executive summary).  A Kaiser Family Foundation Study.  March 2005.

Compiled by Kyla Boyse, R.N. Reviewed by faculty and staff at the University of Michigan

Updated November 2009



U-M Health System Related Sites:
U-M Pediatrics


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