Top 5 parenting tips for media literacy in preschoolers

Parenting preschoolers in a media saturated world starts with monitoring their media intake – here, Aidan Seiden, 2, is greeted by Sesame Street's Elmo, after a partnership announcement between the National Children's Museum and Sesame Street, Feb. 3, 2011, in Wash. Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Media literacy – that ability to think critically about the angles and agendas of on-screen content – can be taught to preschoolers. Modern Parenthood guest blogger Rebecca Hains, a children's media culture expert at Salem State University, in Salem, Mass., offers 5 parenting essentials for media literacy in preschoolers.

1. Prescreen media

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    Prescreen media by selecting shows that are educational: "Sesame Street," for example (a 2009 scene from which is shown here featuring Michelle Obama).
    Sesame Workshop/AP
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Preschoolers can have a hard time understanding that what’s on screen is created by other people, and not just a window into some other location in the world. Media literacy experts assert that if we give children the tools to create their own media, they will better understand how mass media is created. They will know that other people have made decisions about what stories to tell, what shots to show on screen, and what words the characters will say – this kind of knowledge is truly a form of literacy.

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