Did you ever try to talk to your kids about something happening on the screen while they were watching a movie or TV show only to get a scowl in return? Their eyes were telling you not to interrupt their entertainment. There’s a myth, especially regarding kids, that learning from media or talking about it saps all the fun out of the experience. Not necessarily so. For people who care for and teach children— parents, grandparents, teachers, parish ministers—media provides a wonderful opportunity to enter into conversation with the children in your care through the very means they use for entertainment.
A child’s natural curiosity and asking “why?” feeds right into media literacy education. Just like our high school literature classes, where we delved into a book, poem, or play, analyzing it and discovering its meaning, media literacy brings this method of inquiry to the information and entertainment media we use every day.
Called media mindfulness in faith communities, this 21st century approach asks questions of the media children and grown-ups experience to gain insight into living our Christians lives to their fullest. Questions such as: “What would you have done in her place?” or “How would you feel if that happened to you?” or “What will you do next time you’re in that situation?” can be powerful ways of connecting faith with the culture that surrounds us.