Media literacy education is effective in reducing risky or antisocial behaviors among children and youth of all ages and for all topics of focus, such as tobacco use, violence and sex, according to researchers who conducted a comprehensive review of the existing research on media literacy – the first of its kind.
“Media literacy is being adopted for broad areas of applications – drinking, smoking, sexual health,” co-author Hyunyi Cho said by phone today. One of the important results of this investigation, she said, would be “to create knowledge and awareness among policymakers and educators that media literacy is an effective tool, and to spur more research on media literacy.”
The study, published in the April issue of the Journal of Communications, is the first quantitative meta-analysis of the English-language research on media literacy education, according to Dr. Cho, associate professor of health communication and risk communication at Purdue University.
The researchers reviewed fifty-one published studies of media literacy interventions that were intended to enhance students’ critical analysis by increasing knowledge of the media, awareness of the influence of the media, and the ability to assess the realism of the media representation of reality.
Dr. Cho, along with co-authors Se-Hoon Jeong of Korea University and Yoori Hwang of Myongji University in Seoul, conclude that media literacy interventions had positive effects on almost all outcomes studied, including media knowledge, criticism, perceived realism, influence, behavioral beliefs, attitudes and behavior. Media literacy interventions, they state, “may be an effective approach for reducing potentially harmful effects of media messages.”
(As this study is not available in full online, please leave a comment or get in touch with me directly if you have questions.)