Introducing: Petra’s Power to See
EEK Releases New Book Teaching Kids How to READ Images and Media
By Dina Alexander, MS
As my kids’ ages have entered double digits, certain messages in media have been brutal on them. Every time they pick up a phone or open a laptop they are confronted with images of men, women, and teens who are filtered and staged–often in physically unattainable ways–and whose lifestyle taunts at something better, something cooler than my kids can get in “real life.” And I haven’t even started talking about the damage of TV or online ads:
I’m only talking about their social media feeds.
As I think about my kids and the inescapable messages all around them, I realize that most of us parents are waiting too long to start talking about media messages in advertising, music, books, magazines, news stories, games, apps, websites, video clips, and elsewhere.
Although I have talked with my kids about these influences many times, I find myself wishing I had started talking about media literacy with them when they were young enough to be influenced by Disney movies or Hot Wheels commercials instead of Instagram or YouTube.
In the last couple of years, my kids and I have started discussing various media and learning together to deconstruct the hidden and overt messages around us in apps, movies, videos and elsewhere. It has not only been a fascinating experience, but it has also empowered us to see through many of the confusing and harmful messages in media.
And now I want to help you teach your kids to be more media savvy! And not just with advertisements, but with their interactions in social media, gaming, and news–real or fake.
What would you give for your kids to be able to read and decipher the real messages in images and media in our culture?
If you would like to start building these habits within your family then you’ll want to check out Petra’s Power to See: A Media Literacy Adventure . The story centers around a girl named Petra as she ventures through the city to learn about the media messages all around her. She and her dad come face to face with clear and hidden messages in different media such as advertising, social media, movies, and fake news.
As with all of our books, Petra’s Power to See provides tools for you to create simple discussions that educate your kids about the world around them and truly empower them to be better consumers of media.
By taking a positive, yet realistic view of media, this book helps kids to see that while there are many forms of wonderful, healthy media in our culture, there are also useless and harmful messages out there.
Petra’s Power to See also helps kids to not be fearful of media, but to be critical and deliberate in their consumption and perhaps a little more understanding of why their parents have rules aboutmedia and tech use.
To further assist parents, we have included a helpful chapter on sensitive topics like pornography and violent media. There is also a workbook with discussions and activities and a Media Guideline that families can use to create rules and boundaries together.
Living in an image-based culture, where we get most of our information from video and photographs (versus our parents who received most of their information in a written form), it is so important for kids, both young and old, to become truly literate: media literate.
Try this book. It is a great opportunity to have excellent discussions, learn together, and be more media savvy. Together we can do this!
From Petra’s Power to See
Dina Alexander is the founder and CEO of Educate and Empower Kids (educateempowerkids.org), an organization determined to strengthen families by teaching digital citizenship, media literacy, and healthy sexuality education—including education about the dangers of online porn. She is the creator of Noah’s New Phone: A Story About Using Technology for Good, Messages About Me: A Journey to Healthy Body Image, How to Talk to Your Kids About Pornography, and the 30 Days of Sex Talks and 30 Days to a Stronger Child programs. She received her master’s degree in recreation therapy from the University of Utah and her bachelors from Brigham Young University. She is an amazing mom and loves spending time with her husband and three kids. Together, they live in Texas.