Purpose Evaluate whether Beyond Blame, a violence prevention media literacy curriculum, is associated with improved knowledge, beliefs and behaviours related to media use and aggression.
Methods Using a quasi-experimental design, from 2007 to 2008, teachers from schools across Southern California administered the curriculum with or without training or served as controls. Students were tested before and after the curriculum was implemented, and during the fall semester of the next academic year. Multivariate hierarchical regression was used to compare changes from baseline to follow-up between the intervention and control groups.
Results Compared with controls, at the first post-test, students in the trained and untrained groups reported increased knowledge of five core concepts/key questions of media literacy, increased self-rated exposure to media violence, as well as stronger beliefs that media violence affects viewers and that people can protect themselves by watching less. Regarding behaviours, controls were more likely to report ≥8 h of media consumption at the second post-test than at baseline (OR=2.11; 95% CI 1.13 to 3.97), pushing or shoving another student (OR=2.16; 95% CI 1.16 to 4.02) and threatening to hit or hurt someone (OR=2.32; 95% CI 1.13 to 4.78). In comparison, there was no increase in these behaviours in the trained and untrained groups.
Conclusions This study suggests media literacy can be feasibly integrated into schools as an approach to improving critical analysis of media, media consumption and aggression. Changing the way youth engage media may impact many aspects of health, and an important next step will be to apply this framework to other topics.
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