Return to Headlines

Middle Schoolers Learn How to Be Critical Consumers in New Media Literacy Class

Arianna Grassia (Head Librarian Grades 5-12)In Arianna Grassia’s seventh grade Media Literacy Class, a new elective offered this year, students are learning how to be critical consumers of the media.

At a recent PTSA Parent Meeting, Grassia introduced the new class and her findings, reporting that over the course of the pandemic, screen time for young adolescents has increased from an average of 4.5 hours to 5.5 hours per day. For teens, it has gone from 7.5 hours to 8.5 hours per day.

“This means that young people who do engage with screens are spending two full days of a seven-day week looking at them,” Grassia said. 

Anecdotal evidence collected from seventh grade students enrolled in Grassia’s Media Literacy class shows their consumption is in line with national averages. They engage with YouTube more than any other platform. Next is an even split between Snapchat and TikTok. More broadly, they divide their time between a variety of platforms like BeReal, Instagram, Discord, Twitch, and many others. 

What does this information tell us? According to Grassia, students are consuming media at a rate that will only increase in the coming years. 

“And because of this, now more than ever, they need to learn to be critical consumers, especially because a large part of their day is spent consuming media in all its forms,” Grassia said. 

“This course encourages them to look at their personal habits and ask themselves important questions about what they’re consuming and where it’s coming from.”

Parents who attended the PTSA Meeting were pleased to hear that their children are learning ways to take what they’re reading, watching and listening to, and evaluate it with critical eyes and ears. 

For more about the course, how to promote media literacy, and other helpful information, view Grassia’s full presentation.