Commercial Media Literacy

Commercially sponsored media literacy initiatives aimed at educating children about the persuasive nature of advertising are evaluated against implicit theories underlying their use, criticisms of the motivation behind their implementation, and effectiveness evidence. Media literacy intervention analysis should be situated more explicitly within the context of the age-related development of cognitive skills and also within the debate regarding possible negative impacts of persuasive communication. In addition, the debate, the development of future interventions, and research into the complex combination of factors influencing dietary and lifestyle choices should incorporate evolving media forms, media convergence, and the blurring of advertising, information, and entertainment. Recommendations for addressing the dearth of empirical data conclude the paper.