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Communication Begins with Children

A Lifespan Communication Sourcebook


Edited By Thomas J. Socha and Narissra Maria Punyanunt-Carter

Communication Begins with Children: A Lifespan Communication Sourcebook seeks to transform the field of communication, arguing that the field must stop neglecting and segregating children and instead adopt an age-inclusive lifespan approach that fully includes and fully considers children in all communication theorizing, research, and education from infancy and throughout the human lifespan. One-size-fits-all, adult-centric communication theorizing, researching, and educating is inadequate and harms the communication field’s potential as a social force for positive change for all communicators. The volume contains four sections (Foundations, Relational Communication Development, Digital Communication Development, and Navigating Developmental Communication Challenges) that showcase state-of-the-art chapters about the history of children’s relational and digital communication studies, methods used to study children’s communication, media literacy development, communication and children’s health, and much more. A must read for all communication researchers, educators, and students and an important addition to advanced and graduate level human and digital communication courses.

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11. Media Literacy Education as a Context for Children’s Communication: RONDA M. SCANTLIN



University of Dayton


We now live in complex, media-saturated environments filled with televisions, Blu-ray players, personal computers, tablets and laptops, the Internet, video gaming systems, smart phones, and other portable devices. They offer constant exposure to media messages and abundant opportunities to interact within social contexts—from connecting with friends on Facebook to posting a photo on Instagram. Media and digital technologies have transformed the ways in which we communicate, educate, work, entertain, consume, and create. Furthermore, we continue to develop dependencies on our technological devices without fully understanding the consequences for social relationships, academic achievement, digital security and privacy, or personal health and well-being to name a few. It is within this context that media literacy—competencies that enable us to access, analyze, evaluate, create, and act—must play a critical role. Teaching media literacy translates into user awareness and control over media experiences; such skills also develop or cultivate empowerment. This is particularly important for young media users, as they are just beginning to interpret media messages in more sophisticated ways and create content with lasting impact.

The purpose of this chapter is to explore critical issues surrounding the acquisition of media literacy skills from childhood through late adolescence as well as examine the influence of these types of experiences on well-being. Specific goals include examining media literacy in all its forms, reviewing effects of media literacy education initiatives on developmental outcomes, exploring media...

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