March 16, 2023, Durham, NC – The fourth and newest edition of iRT’s evidence-based, instructor-led media literacy and substance abuse prevention program for middle school students, Media Ready Spanish, has been released. Media Ready Spanish provides youth with skills to critically analyze media content that contains harmful messages about alcohol, drugs, tobacco products, and vapes. The Spanish version of the program continues to use Latin American Spanish in the translations to provide teachers with the opportunity to present all instructional materials to their students in their native language.
Through Media Ready’s series of 10 fully scripted, highly interactive lessons, students practice detecting and deconstructing media messages in real-world examples of advertisements they may consume. Students are also given the opportunity to work on a group media production project that involves creating a counter-advertisement. This project gives students the opportunity to respond to an ad for an alcohol, tobacco, or vaping product.
This interactive program includes a range of discussions and activities designed to teach students to detect and analyze pro-drug messages across various forms of media, so they can make more informed decisions regarding their use of alcohol, tobacco, and vaping products. The fourth edition of Media Ready Spanish contains brand new relevant media examples for students to critically evaluate.
What’s New with Media Ready Spanish?
Previous editions of Media Ready Spanish asked students to analyze print advertisements, particularly advertisements containing pro-drug messages. The latest edition of the program has added examples of other forms of media messages in addition to print ads, including television and internet commercials, and social media posts for students to analyze. These updates to the program contribute to it being current, exciting, and familiar to middle school students.
Previous editions of the program primarily contained examples of media messages in English translated into Spanish. In contrast, the majority of ads and commercials used in the fourth edition were produced and distributed in Spanish. Ads have been included from Puerto Rico, Mexico, Spain, Peru, Argentina, and Colombia, as well as other places. In addition, previous editions of the program included ads with English-speaking celebrities from the U.S., whereas, we have updated the program to include a wide variety of ads and commercials featuring contemporary celebrities, singers, professional athletes, and actors from across Spain, Latin America, and the U.S. Teachers, substance abuse prevention specialists, and students from Latin America provided input on ads, commercials, and celebrities which contribute to the culturally relevancy of the fourth edition of Media Ready Spanish.
As youth participation in and consumption of social media content grows, it is increasingly important to provide students with examples of harmful messages on social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok to deconstruct. In addition, many children and adolescents watch television programming or internet streaming on a regular basis for extended periods of time, so informing students of ways commercials present damaging messages and ways to critically assess those video messages is an integral part of media literacy education. The fourth edition of Media Ready Spanish now provides examples of harmful advertisements in the form of television and internet commercials, and social media posts, so students can be more prepared to critically analyze pro-drug messages in any of the modern forms of media that they encounter.
The latest version of the program addresses a relatively newer form of advertising, product placement and influencers/product endorsers. The hiring of actors, models, and other celebrities to use a product in a public way, either on social media or in the context of a television or streamed show, movie, or podcast, has grown exponentially. Oftentimes, it isn’t clear when a product is being advertised. It just appears that someone influential is using a product. Young people will frequently buy or use a product simply because someone they admire has also used it. The program raises consciousness about this insidious form of advertising, so that young people are aware that they are being manipulated.
Why is Media Ready Spanish Important for Your Students?
Adolescence is an integral time in life for a child to form opinions about alcohol, drugs, tobacco products, and drugs, but exposure to pro-drug messages in advertisements of various forms can negatively impacts youths’ views and decisions resulting in use of these products. One study found that middle school students who reported greater exposure to alcohol advertising were more likely to drink alcohol in high school than those who reported less exposure.1 Another study reported that youth who were susceptible to use, had ever used, or currently use both combustible tobacco and e-cigarettes had higher levels of engagement with social media.2
Youth’s exposure to various forms of media, and therefore exposure to pro-drug messages, is steadily increasing, so the need for high quality media literacy education for middle school students is crucial to prevent adolescent use of substances. Media Ready has been proven to reduce intentions to use alcohol in boys and intentions to use tobacco products for youth who have used tobacco products in the past.3 Additionally, the program has been proven to increase students’ critical thinking about media messages.3
If you’re interested in using the Media Ready Spanish program to teach youth media literacy skills to prevent substance abuse, visit our website.
Ellickson, P. L., et al. (2005). “Does alcohol advertising promote adolescent drinking? Results from a longitudinal assessment.”Addiction100(2): 235-246.
Hébert, E. T., et al. (2017). “Exposure and Engagement With Tobacco- and E-Cigarette Related Social Media.” Journal of Adolescent Health61(3): 371-377.
Kupersmidt, J. B., et al. (2012). “Improving media message interpretation processing skills to promote healthy decision making about substance use: the effects of the middle school media ready curriculum.” J Health Commun17(5): 546-563.