At all levels of education, initiatives in media literacy are premised on teaching youth and young adults to consume media critically—from how media shape political messages to the increasing pervasiveness of advertising. But the challenges to such initiatives are daunting. Schools need the necessary resources and educators the requisite expertise and training to teach media literacy. Supporting media literacy education for youth can help prepare children and young adults for lives of active inquiry and give them a better understanding of the ties between information, community, and democracy. This report, by Paul Mihailidis, professor of journalism, media and public relations at Hofstra University, makes the case that as media become more central to the development of youth in society, funders should recognize that media literacy education for youth is an important part of democratic development.
*This report is the third in a series of three on the status of U.S. and international understanding of and funding for media literacy.