Study: Media literacy education helps protect children from the harmful effects of media messages

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.) 


  1. How can our Association work closer with Media Literacy educators like yourself. I appreciate your dedication and research work. We just received a Proclamation from the Texas Senate recognizing Media Literacy,our contributions and its importance to all citizens in the 21st Century. Some of our educational warriors have pulled back due to the preception Media Literacy has been intergrated or absorbed into the main stream. I don't agree with that,as long as children, parents,educators and community leaders continue to say no,when I ask them have they ever heard of Media Litercy.Please consider registering with our Association so we can also help promote what you do. We've made sure the small($5)fee is affordable to every individual/organization supporting the worldwide movement of Media Literacy. Thanks so much again for what you do and we hope to build a strong networking relationship with you in the near future. God bless, Jerone Roy (Founder-CEO)469-263-5489

  2. Thanks, Jerone for stopping by and letting us know about the Texas Media Literacy Association. Great to see Media Literacy efforts are popping up all over the nation.

  3. Erin, thanks so much for posting about this study! It's great to find evaluative data about the efficacy of educating about important global issues (like media literacy). I'm posting about your post on IHE's blog (for Tuesday, Sept. 4) w/ a link back here. We at IHE really appreciate all your great work!Peace,MarshaInstitute for Humane Education

  4. Erin, do you have the full txt of the study I can look at? (email me?) Seems like we should be touting this from the rafters on the merits of media literacy; am only able to access snippets of the study. Will outreach to CMCH too, but don't see it in their latest wrap up of research: Impt, and encouraging news!

  5. I agree – This is important news! I will send you the study, Amy.

  6. Hello! I'm doing a project on media literacy and this study would be very helpful to my research. Could I please have the study as well? Thank you very much! My email is cthomas18(at)

  7. Hi, I’m doing an MA in education and my dissertation is on media literacy in Kenyan school curriculum. Could you allow me to have a look at your study please? My email is

  8. Hi, I am working on my final paper towards my MSW. The topic of this paper is eating disorders and the media. Would you be able to send me the study to be used as part of my research for media literacy as a possible prevention strategy? My e-mail is . Thank you so much.

  9. Hello! I am currently doing a paper on media literacy in schools and was wondering if there were any negative effects found to this addition. Please if theres any information may you please email me at


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