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Digital Media Literacy Resources for Elementary Educators

Social media plays a major role in the lives of today’s youth. The 2021 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey (OSDUHS) report stated that 91% of grade 7-12 students use social media. We know that children younger than 13 are also using social media.  Social media can be useful in a lot of situations such as sharing information, marketing ideas and products, and interacting with friend and family all over the world.  Social Media can also come with some risks.  Some of the resources below may be helpful to mitigate some of the risks associate with the use of social media.  

MediaSmarts, a Canadian non-profit organization for digital and media literacy describes the competencies for digital literacy and media literacy as complementary and mutually supporting and constantly evolving and intersecting in new and interesting way. It defines the supporting role each plays as “media literacy generally focuses on teaching youth to be critically engaged consumers of media, while digital literacy is more about enabling youth to participate in digital media in wise, safe and ethical ways.”

The links below offer detailed information, lesson plans and classroom resources to support media and digital literacy to develop critical thinking skills and informed, engaged, resilient youth.

  • MediaSmarts – Suggested for kindergarten to Grade 8. This website offers a variety of free teacher resources, including backgrounders, lesson plans, tip sheets, games and other classroom tools. Topics include: authenticating information, blogging, body image, cell phones and texting, cyber bullying, cyber security, alcohol in the media, and more. Curricular outcome charts have been included to support educators in linking these resources to Ontario curriculum expectations. MediaSmarts also includes information for parents/families.
  • NeedHelpNow.ca is a Canadian site that provides you with guidance on steps you can take to get through if you (or a friend, peer or sibling) have been involved in a self/peer exploitation incident (otherwise known as “sexting”). www.needhelpnow.ca is an initiative of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection Inc., a charitable organization dedicated to the personal safety of all children.
  • Kids Help Phone - Media – Kids Help Phone is a reliable and trusted resource for Ontario Families to use for up to date information.
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