A few years ago, I mostly stopped using filters on my Instagram photos and stories. I had been using ones that weren’t intentionally changing the way I looked - or at least, I wasn’t trying too hard for that. I was selecting ones that bettered my lighting or made me look less tired.

If you are a parent and you’ve been thinking of starting a blog, writing for parenting magazines, or becoming a social media influencer in the parent sphere, keep reading.

In this lesson, students consider the ways in which social media may prompt them to compare themselves with others, and the impacts that can have on body image and self-esteem. They analyze how the features, algorithms and culture of the social networks they use may affect them and will produce “paper prototypes” of redesigned social media apps that promote more healthful use. Finally, students reflect on how they can change how they use the existing apps to be more like their redesigned versions.

Digital media such as social networks and video games have become increasingly important in the lives of children and youth. Even when young people are consuming other media, such as TV, music and movies, they’re likely to be doing it through the internet. As well, nearly all the media they consume, from TV shows to toys, have web pages, virtual worlds, video games or other digital spinoffs associated with them.

Now is a good time to think about how we are creating, curating and engaging with online content.  

Digital Citizen Day is October 25, 2023, and Media Literacy Week is October 23-27, 2023. MediaSmarts is focusing on spreading positivity online as a part of their campaign.

This printable activity sheet introduces basic media literacy skills and concepts and is suitable for use in homes, schools and libraries. It can be completed independently, but children will learn more if you discuss the activity with them. Younger children may need help reading the instructions and completing the activity. 

Written by Dr. Samantha McAleese

Here at MediaSmarts, we’ve just wrapped up another research project called Reporting Platforms: Young Canadians Evaluate Efforts to Counter Disinformation. This project created space for youth from across Canada to examine and assess reporting processes on popular social media apps (like Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube). We wanted to learn more about how young people feel about current efforts to counter misinformation and disinformation and what solutions they might have to address this particular online harm. To do this, we facilitated three focus groups with 36 participants ages 16 to 29, talked to them about how often they see misinformation and disinformation online and what they do about it, and asked them to comment on whether they trust platforms to keep them safe and informed while scrolling and sharing.  

When my kids saw the TikTok app icon on my phone, both of them had the same reaction: “WHAT? Why are you on TikTok?” While I thought it was because they wanted to tell me I was too old for the app, it was more that they really didn’t understand the appeal since they aren’t current users (for now).

“Do you know this meme?” 

One of my kids once asked me that, many years ago, as they were discovering memes on the internet. They asked it as a simple question, but I couldn’t help but pause at their inquiry. It was a hugely popular meme – I have been online for many years, and I know many of us in my (ahem) age group use memes a lot (I’m sometimes referred to as an Xennenial, born in 1980, also called an elder millennial apparently. I think sometimes I’m considered Gen X too). We love memes!