Adolescents can benefit greatly from evidence-based, medically-accurate sexual and relationship health education. However, both teachers and parents face challenges in effectively teaching about sexual health and relationships leading to students receiving incomplete or inaccurate information.
Young people turn to media for information, and many media messages about sex and relationships are inaccurate and unhealthy. Exposure to unhealthy media messages (e.g., those that normalize or glamorize risky sex) is related to early and risky adolescent sexual behaviors.
Media literacy education (MLE), which teaches critical analysis of media messages, has been shown to be an effective intervention for changing risky health behaviors including those related to sexual and relationship health.
Malik, C.V., Scull, T.M. (2021, Nov.). Using media literacy education for sexual and relationship health promotion in high school: Immediate and short-term effects of the Media Aware program. Session presented at the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality Annual Conference: San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Malik, C.V., Scull, T.M. (2019, Oct.). Media literacy education: An innovative, engaging, and effective approach to sexual health education. Session presented at the American School Health Association (ASHA) Conference: Cincinnati, OH.
Malik, C.V., Keefe, E., & Morrison, A. (2019, May). Adolescent sexual health in the digital age: Addressing consent and healthy relationships using a media literacy education approach. Workshop presented at the SHIFT NC Annual Conference: Greensboro, NC.