UW Today

This is an archived article.

March 9, 2006

Conference provides educators with new tools to combat effect of media on youth

News and Information

Several nationally-known experts on how media can affect the health of young people and how media literacy can minimize these effects, will speak at a two-day conference at the University of Washington.

“Images of Youth: New Directions in Media Literacy and Teen Health” will be held March 20 and 21 in the HUB on the UW campus. It is presented by the Northwest Center for Excellence in Media Literacy, UW College of Education, and is funded by the Washington State Department of Health.

Featured speaker is Jean Kilbourne, internationally recognized for her pioneering research on alcohol and tobacco advertising and for her work on the image of women in advertising. Her latest book is Can’t Buy My Love; How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel. Kilbourne is an internationally recognized expert on addictions, gender issue and the media. She has served as an adviser to two Surgeons General. She will speak about advertising and addiction.

Margo Wootan, another guest speaker, is director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a leading consumer advocacy organization that specializes in food, nutrition, and public health issues, where she works to strengthen national, state and local policies that promote nutrition and physical activity. Wootan leads efforts to improve school foods, require calorie labeling in fast-food and other chain restaurants, expand nutrition and physical activity promotion and funding, and reduce junk-food marketing aimed at children. She will talk about childhood obesity and junk food marketing to children.

Other conference sessions will include: Teen Sexuality and the Online Culture, Media Literacy and the Internet, and Youth and Video Gaming Research. Attendees also will hear from teachers who have integrated media literacy into their classes.

The conference, which will be attended by educators, health professionals, parents and other adults who work with teens, is intended to examine how media literacy can be taught and its implications for those concerned with teen health. The goal of media literacy is to provide young people with the analytic framework for evaluating the content of messages they receive from various media.

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For more information, contact Marilyn Cohen, director of the Northwest Center for Excellence in Media Literacy, 206-543-9414.