Recently, the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved an updated draft of the health education standards, which act as guidance documents for the state’s K-12 health educators.
In the draft Comprehensive Health and Physical Education framework, now released for public comment before final approval, media literacy is integrated into two of seven practices around which the frameworks are organized: on self awareness and analyzing influences; and on information and resource-seeking.
“Young people’s health and wellness are strongly influenced by media messages, and people across the country are raising the alarm about the potential harms,” said Erin McNeill, CEO of Media Literacy Now. “We are encouraged to see the updated health education framework in Massachusetts incorporate media literacy and digital wellness skills to help students be critical thinkers about media messages, seek quality health information, and be safe and healthy participants in their increasingly digital worlds.”
Tamara Sobel, J.D., CSE, Media Literacy Now’s National Advisor on Health and Media Literacy, was on the panel that met in 2019 to shape the revisions of the new Comprehensive Health and Physical Education Frameworks. “In developing the new frameworks, which have not been revised since 1999, the panel recognized that much has changed in the culture and in media use, and media awareness and media literacy needed to be incorporated,” Ms. Sobel said. “The new standards acknowledge the significant effect media has on young people’s attitudes and decision-making around many health topics, even from a very early age, and the need for media literacy skills.”