Media Literacy Approaches for Improving Youth and Family Health

Authored by: Erica Weintraub Austin , Davi Israel Kallman , Michelle Kistler

International Handbook of Media Literacy Education

Print publication date:  May  2017
Online publication date:  April  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138645493
eBook ISBN: 9781315628110
Adobe ISBN: 9781317240068


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Media messages have a notable influence on the lives of children, adolescents, and adults, potentially contributing to a series of negative individual health and social outcomes (Austin, 2001; Austin, Chen, Pinkleton, & Quintero Johnson, 2006; Strasburger, Wilson, & Jordan, 2014). These negative outcomes include substance abuse, teen pregnancy, and obesity, and can have negative effects on families, including communication within the household (Cantor, 1998; Cantor & Mares, 2001). Arguably, media influences have increased over the years as the affordability and accessibility of multi-media devices increases (Mihailidis, 2014, p. 37). With the advent of mobile devices and Wi-Fi Internet, people can access an unprecedented amount of media content anytime, anywhere. The overwhelming ubiquity of media supports the argument that current media literacy interventions are inadequate in changing behavior. We posit that media literacy interventions should adapt to the contemporary media-saturated environment by taking on a more holistic approach that incorporates all family members, ensuring that media literacy skills are passed on through generations.

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