Technology - Sex, Potato Chips, and Media Literacy
Van Horn, Royal, Phi Delta Kappan
NOW THAT I have your attention, what on earth does sex have to do with potato chips? Simple answer: sex is often used to sell things. Imagine a television commercial with Britney Spears nibbling a handful of Lay's(r) potato chips. You and I might realize that eating high-fat foods is not synonymous with bodies like Britney's, but many children and youths probably don't.
When I first decided to write a column on media literacy, I thought that I would simply be offering a definition, discussing how media literacy could be incorporated into the school curriculum, and suggesting resources that might be useful. After a little research, however, I developed a sense of urgency. We needed media literacy 20 years ago, we desperately need it today, and we need to move fast. In the words of UNESCO, "We must prepare young people for living in a world of powerful images, words, and sounds."1
If the admonition from UNESCO doesn't convince you of the urgent need for media literacy, consider this from the American Academy of Pediatricians:
Media Matters is a national public education campaign of the American Academy of Pediatrics. It was launched in 1997 to help pediatricians, parents, and children become more aware of the influence that media (television, movies, computer and video games, Internet, advertising, popular music, etc.) have on child and adolescent health. Issues of concern include the use of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs; aggression and violence; sex and sexual exploitation; obesity and poor nutrition. Media Matters advocates for media education, or learning how to analyze the media through critical thinking and viewing, as a way to mitigate these problems.2
Note the last …
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Publication information: Article title: Technology - Sex, Potato Chips, and Media Literacy. Contributors: Van Horn, Royal - Author. Journal title: Phi Delta Kappan. Volume: 84. Issue: 1 Publication date: September 2002. Page number: 10. © 1999 Phi Delta Kappa, Inc. COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group.
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