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Educators Helping Kids Evaluate Influences of Media

Posted June 26, 2001

— A campaign to help kids make sense of the media culture that surrounds them is getting national attention.

Experts in media literacy are gathered in Houston for a conference this week. Triangle educators are capitalizing on the momentum.

The goal of media literacy education programs is to give students the tools they need to analyze and evaluate the millions of messages and images they are exposed to everyday.

"Right now there's a lot of research out there showing that kids and students are affected by the things that they're seeing and they're experiencing in the media. So I think nationally and locally we're trying to respond to that," says Sherry Hinkle, of Safe Schools/Healthy Students.

Wake County Schools

are responding by, among other things, teaching young people to ask questions about the messages and images they are exposed to.

"To make healthy choices, to make good choices, to think it through," says Hinkle. "To think realistically about what they're viewing, about what they're listening to and to make good choices."

Hinkle says it is vital that parents are equipped to help their kids distinguish between the positive and negative information they see in all forms of media.

The school system is working to design a handbook for parents.

"That will help parents to be able to understand the effects of media, to be able to sit down with their kids and talk about, you know, these commercials and this music, and these video games and to really think through what they're being experienced to," says Hinkle.

Wake County Schools will bring its second annual Safe Schools/Healthy Students Summit to Raleigh's McKimmon Center October 12 - 13. This year it will focus entirely on Media Literacy.


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