In today’s world, media impacts children’s lives in almost every way. It educates, entertains, persuades, and influences how they see the world. It can be overwhelming trying to help them create a healthy relationship with it due to how encompassing it can feel. However, there is one skill that you can start teaching children today that will help them improve their relationship with media!
Teach them to ask questions. I know it sounds too good to be true, but it is! This one skill will help them evaluate and analyze the multitude of media messages that they interact with daily. Teaching them to ask questions helps them develop the critical thinking skills necessary to consider the complexities of media. Some of these complexities include bias, credibility, economic gain, scams, copyright, context, and much more. One way to foster a great conversation about media is by interacting with it together and using the experience as an opportunity to ask questions that promote critical thinking skills. Some questions that are helpful to get them thinking include the classic who, what, where, when, why, and how questions.
Here are some examples of questions that encourage children to think critically about media: Who created this message? How might different people interpret this message? Why is this message being sent? What information is missing? When was this information published? Which techniques are being used to attract my attention?
The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) recently released a free guide that uses scenarios to demonstrate how these questions lead to better relationships with media.
Access the free resource here: https://namle.net/a-parents-guide-to-media-literacy/