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What is the best way to communicate with children about digital media? When?

As the quantity of and access to images and sounds increase, all of us—and especially children—need to remember that all media are made by people with a specific purpose in mind.

The skill and artistry of media professionals make it increasingly difficult to separate the real world from the crafted worlds represented in a wide range of media formats. Media literacy allows audiences to appreciate the best of the art form while increasing their awareness of subtle, as well as overt, messages.

  • With preschoolers and kindergarteners, it is important to relate issues to common experiences familiar to children. Focus attention on the fact that ideas represented through media are not necessarily true or beyond criticism. For instance, children should know that a television commercial is intended to send a specific message that will persuade audiences to consume the product.
  • Elementary students can grasp the basic concepts that film and video makers, television and radio producers, and computer and other new media artists use. By studying the media arts, children can gain valuable insights into the world around them.

Source: National Endowment for the Arts. "Introducing Your Child to the Arts: Media Literacy"