While Generation Alpha (those born after 2010) are more familiar with digital marketing content, familiarity does not necessarily translate into understanding of persuasive intent. Evidence suggests children remain vulnerable to the harms of the internet, and as they mature into teenagers are still susceptible to the appeal of advertising and fake news. Although children’s persuasion knowledge inevitably increases, the nature and form of the commercial messages also becomes more sophisticated, stealthy, and covert, thus developing the requisite cognitive competences and defenses in children remains challenging. The COVID19 pandemic has resulted in increased usage of digital media for all age cohorts in society, further underlining the need for children to acquire multiple media literacies.
Therefore, Minding Media, has been carefully designed to meet the needs of primary school educators and their pupils, and is also aligned with partner needs, all of whom are educational providers. Our project responds to our common desire to increase the advertising literacy of children and wider society.
Media Literacy Education (MLE) is not taught as a mandatory school subject, reinforcing the fact that best MLE is fragmented and cross curricular. Thus, our project responds to the demand for participatory media literacy curricula and provides digitised resources dedicated to one element of media literacy responding to the need for a less fragmented approach to primary school MLE.
For children and young people, the project responds to their direct need for critical media skills in the face of a digitizing society. Between the ages of 8 and 12 is a key development stage in children’s understanding of the persuasive intent of commercial messages. Children are capable of critically appraising message content; however, enjoyment of advertisements depreciates the motivation to activate message resistance strategies. Minding Media understand that multiple media literacies, including advertising literacy, must be promoted, as they empower children to critically evaluate media messages and make informed choices.