Media Literacy Week: Marketing and Consumerism

November 1st, 2013 by Dan Allan

Media Literacy Week is an annual campaign held by MediaSmarts and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation to increase the media literacy of Canadians so they can better understand the nature, techniques and impacts of media messages and productions.

Media Literacy Week

The theme of this year’s Media Literacy Week, which runs from November 4th to 8th, is Marketing and Consumerism. The goal of the week is to encourage educators and parents to talk to children and teens about the marketing they encounter on a daily basis.  

Media Smarts has created a list of tips for talking to young people about advertising. It includes:

  • Starting young: Starting the discussion about advertising at an early age encourages active – not passive – consumption of commercial messages.
  • Explaining how advertising works: Discuss how the job of marketers is to play on human insecurities and implying that their products will improve our lives and bring us happiness.
  • Pointing out the tricks of the trade: Explain how advertisers use many methods to encourage us to buy their products. These include “pulling on our heartstrings,” using misleading words, making exaggerated claims about a product and using cartoon characters of celebrities to sell products.
  • Explaining how marketers target young people: Explain how marketers target image-conscious young people with messages about being “cool” and attractive.

Some of the same criteria could also be used when discussing and teaching about political advertising!

Are you interested in bringing Media Literacy Week into your classroom? Click here to access Media Smarts’ teacher resources. Media Smarts also partnered with Concerned Children’s Advertisers to create a six-part series of “Media Minutes” for elementary school students on media literacy.

A number of Media Literacy Week activities are taking place across Canada and online. Click here for a full list of events.

The Manitoba Teachers’ Society (MTS), Manitoba Education and the Manitoba Association of Computing Educators (ManACE) have “teamed up” for Media Literacy Week. Students can submit their photos and videos to their Instagram Challenge.

Check out some of our past Media Literacy Week blogs:

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Media Literacy Week: Tips for protecting your online privacy

November 8th, 2012 by Dan Allan

Media Literacy Week is an annual campaign held by MediaSmarts (formerly the Media Awareness Network) and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation to increase the media literacy of Canadians so they can better understand the nature, techniques and impacts of media messages and productions.

The theme for this year’s Media Literacy Week, which runs from November 5th to 9th, is “Privacy Matters.” Online activities are never completely private and are recorded indefinitely. An understanding of how you can protect yourself is crucial. This was tragically highlighted recently with the case of BC high school student Amanda Todd.

Cyber-bullying remains a very important issue,” according to the Montreal Gazette, and carefully monitoring how you present yourself online can be a deterrant. November 18-24 in Ontario is Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week. The organizers encourage you to learn more about bullying, its effect, and how you can protect yourself.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has created a list of 10 tips to protect your privacy online:

  1. Think before you click
  2. Know who your friends are
  3. Tighten your privacy settings
  4. Avoid disclosing your location
  5. Don’t share your password and change it regularly
  6. Trust your instincts
  7. Understand new features before you try them
  8. Be aware of your online reputation
  9. Protect your privacy, as well as that of your friends
  10. Be discreet

MediaSmarts also has several lists of tips for protecting your online privacy.

To learn more about Media Literacy Week, click here to read an article from the Montreal Gazette.

The theme of last year’s Media Literacy Week was Digital Citizenship.


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Media Literacy Week: Think before you tweet!

November 5th, 2012 by Dan Allan

Media Literacy Week runs from November 5th to 9th in an attempt to help Canadians navigate the many media messages encountered on a daily basis. Many of these messages originate from social media.

We use social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and our new blog to reach new audiences and stay in touch with the teachers and students who take part in our programming.

In particular, Twitter makes it easier to connect with elected officials and political candidates, as well as members of the public and the media interested in what we do. The theme to this year’s Media Literacy Week is “Privacy Matters,” and Twitter provides many examples of how your online privacy should always be a concern.

Anyone can read, save and share what you write or the pictures you share. As the following examples will show, this can have both positive and negative repercussions.



For more examples, click here.


The Politwitter website has some tips for MPs, candidates and all politicians for how to best use Twitter. Here are the highlights:

  • Use hashtags
  • Be authentic
  • Quality over quantity
  • Make your content shareable (and share other people’s content)
  • Don’t be too partisan

And remember, whatever you post could potentially be seen by anyone: a potential voter, an employer, your friends, and your family. Like with all social media, think twice before you hit send!


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