Edited By Do Kyun Kim and James W. Dearing
7. Media Literacy
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7. Media Literacy
BRUCE E. PINKLETON,Washington State University& ERICA WEINTRAUB AUSTIN,Washington State University
Researchers have documented the potentially harmful contributions of media message exposure to negative outcomes in a variety of contexts including alcohol abuse (e.g., Anderson, de Bruijn, Angus, Gordon, & Hastings, 2009; Hoffman, Pinkleton, Austin, & Reyes-Velazquez, 2014), tobacco use (e.g., Davis, Gilpin, Loken, Viswanath, & Wakefield, 2008; Pinkleton, Austin, Cohen, Miller, & Fitzgerald, 2007), and sexual decision-making (e.g., Chandra, Martino, Collins, Elliott, Berry, Kanouse, & Miu, 2008; Hestroni, 2007; Pinkleton, Austin, Chen, & Cohen, 2012, 2013). Media also can have beneficial effects to the extent that users can make distinctions effectively between beneficial or truthful information versus unhealthy or deceptive information. As a result, many experts are looking for viable strategies to help reduce negative media influence and to enhance the potential for positive media influence on message receivers’ decision-making and behavior.
In general, scholars define media literacy broadly in terms of an individual’s ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and communicate messages using a wide range of communication tools and forms (Aufderheide, 1993). Media literacy primarily focuses on activating individuals’ logic-based information processing in an effort to help counteract the impact of messages by helping increase individuals’ skepticism toward media messages and strengthening their critical thinking (e.g., Austin, Pinkleton, Hust, & Cohen, 2005; Hobbs & Frost, 2003; Pinkleton et al., 2007). Consistent with this perspective, the intent of media literacy education is...
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