The controversy over violence and the media has gone round and round for 60 years — yet there is hope for the possibility of change. CML's acclaimed program for middle school students, Beyond Blame: Challenging Violence in the Media is designed to address that oft-missing ingredient in discussions and approaches to violence and media: media literacy.
A longitudinal evaluation study of Beyond Blame by UCLA shows that students of trained teachers who delivered the curriculum: a) agree that media violence may cause adverse effects b) understand CML's Five Core Concepts of media literacy c) mitigate their media use and d) reduce their aggression. These significant findings demonstrate that media literacy is indeed an effective health intervention strategy as well as a proven way to enable students to acquire content knowledge, as well.
While we can't take the media out of the culture — nor would we want to! — we can put our culture into the media by influencing the media depictions that come invited and uninvited into our lives each and every day. By helping audiences make new meaning from the depictions of violence in the media — and by creating a demand for responsibility and understanding on the parts of media makers as well as media viewers — cultural change is possible indeed.
Beyond Blame provides the seeds for the long-term cultural change necessary to elevate the effectiveness of the debate around violence and violent depictions in our society. With only six hours of training on media literacy and on reviewing Beyond Blame curriculum, teachers were able to help change students lives by helping them change their relationship with media.
Beyond Blame: Challenging Violence in the Media has been selected by California Department of Education as a high quality curriculum for in-class and after school programs. The CML curriculum is now included in California Healthy Kids Resource Library and the CASRC library.