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Media Literacy

  • By: Erica Weintraub Austin
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Because they live in a media-saturated world, children must learn to use media effectively to inform their health choices. Eliminating screen use is an unrealistic strategy for eliminating damaging media effects, despite widespread concerns about media effects on young people's health decisions. The vast majority of children has access to the Internet, often on smartphones and unsupervised. Recent reports of youth media use indicate that young people on average use media almost 11 hours per day. They use media to pass the time, to socialize, to learn, to relax, to plan, and to assert their identities. Media are important to them and are also inescapable, with marketing ubiquitous on billboards, in stadiums, and even in schools.

Moreover, media are tools that can be beneficial. Young people ...

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