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Media Literacy Resources for Secondary Educators

With the rapid explosion of electronic tools to broadcast information, market ideas and products, track, interact and partner with strangers, encourage mass sharing of personal information and pictures, and allow anonymous, yet intimate involvement in the lives of others, requires youth to develop skills and tools that have evolved to include both media and digital literacy.

The 2021 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey (OSDUHS) reported that 91% of students in grades 7-12 use social media daily. Of these students 31% of them are spending 5 hours or more on social media daily.  Students using high levels of social media also report significantly higher rates of fair/poor mental health, psychological distress, suicidal ideation, and being cyber-bullied. Roughly one-third of students report being cyberbullied at least once in the past year (OSDHUS 2021).

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 – This website offers a variety of free teacher resources, including backgrounders, lesson plans, tip sheets, games and other classroom tools. Topics include: Cyberbullying and the law, excessive internet use, internet and mobile, gender representation, digital health and more. Curricular outcome charts have been included to support educators in linking these resources to Ontario curriculum expectations. MediaSmarts is also a great resource for parents.
  • 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”). NeedHelpNow 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 - MediaKids Help Phone is a reliable and trusted resource for Ontario Families to use for up to date information.

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