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Media Detective Family

Program Description

Media Detective Family (MDF) is a brief, online media-literacy education and substance use prevention program for families with elementary school-aged children in grades three to five. The goal of MDF is to provide parents and their children with critical thinking and communication skills to help resist the positive media portrayals of alcohol and tobacco use.

The web-based family program was derived from the school-based version, Media Detective. It was designed to 1) encourage parents and children to work together; 2) encourage critical thinking about media messages, in general, and media messages surrounding substance use, in particular; 3) provide skills on how to monitor children’s media use and how to discuss media messages with children; and 4) overcome barriers to parent participation in prevention programming.

MDF trains families to become Media Detectives who can solve cases related to the media and substance use. Program components include an introduction lesson, five cases, and a conclusion lesson that can be completed at the family’s pace.

Program Snapshot
Evidence Ratings
General Substance Use
Cognitive Functioning
Knowledge, Attitudes, and Beliefs About Substance Use
Program Contact
Tracy Scull, Ph.D.
Research Scientist II


Dissemination/Implementation Contact
Tracy Scull, Ph.D.
Research Scientist II


Program Type
Substance use disorder prevention


6-12 (Childhood)
18-25 (Young adult)
26-55 (Adult)

Geographic Locations
Rural and/or frontier


Information not provided

Implementation materials available