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Media Literacy Has Potential to Improve Adolescents’ Health


Brown, Jane D. (2006). Media Literacy Has Potential to Improve Adolescents' Health. Journal of Adolescent Health, 39(4), 459-460.


Media literacy is a relatively new approach to helping young people make good decisions about their health. My favorite simple definition of media literacy is that we’re teaching adolescents how to read “Baywatch” as well as “Beowulf.” Basically, it’s the idea that the popular media (television, movies, music, teen magazines, the Internet) in which adolescents are immersed are probably as important as the classics in teaching cultural norms and expectations. Decades of research has shown that the media do affect adolescents’ aggressive and sexual behavior, body satisfaction and eating disorders, as well as alcohol use and cigarette smoking [1]. I and other media-effects researchers have found that the media can serve as a kind of super peer for young people, glamorizing and normalizing often unhealthy behavior [2].


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Adolescent Health


Brown, Jane D.