The Media Aware (MA) program is a media-literacy education program designed to be implemented in high schools among the general student population. The program seeks to prevent and reduce use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, by teaching students critical viewing skills that make them less vulnerable to media messages that promote substance use. The program was developed by Innovation Research & Training (iRT).
This program’s theory is based upon the notion that exposure to the media, both general and specific to substance use, is linked to youth’s beliefs about substance use. As a result, the program aims to prevent substance use by providing youth with accurate information regarding the prevalence and consequences of substance use compared to the positive and non-normative messages used in the media.
The program is designed to be implemented in the classroom by a health education teacher. The program consists of 12 interactive, multimedia lessons that are each approximately 45 minutes. The lessons cover critical thinking and deconstruction skills, media advocacy, and drug education and include factual information and media messages about alcohol and tobacco products, as well as steroids, marijuana, prescription drugs, and highly caffeinated beverages.
Web-based, multimedia audiovisual resources are available via a password-protected website for presentation by the teacher to the students. Students also complete exercises in a workbook and may also log into the website to access the multimedia audiovisual resources.