Safeguarding our Youth: Media Literacy and Violence Prevention

First government report to call for ‘broadbased media education'

In July 1993, a national conference on youth violence prevention was convened in Washington, DC by:

  • The Department of Justice, Janet Reno, Attorney General
  • The Department of Education, Richard W. Riley, Secretary
  • The Department of Health and Human Services, Donna Shalala, Secretary

The following Report and Recommendations from the Working Group on Media is significant for its innovative "Key Concepts" overview of the issue of violence in the lives of young Americans. This resulted primarily from the participation of young people themselves who challenged the conventional wisdom that media violence leads inevitably to street violence and raised up the issues of poverty, educational decay, the availability of guns and drugs and, underlying it all, societal support for militarism and the myth of the violent hero.

It is also the first government-sponsored report to define and call for "broadbased media literacy education... implemented in an interagency, interdisciplinary approach." This language appeared verbatim in the final Conference report, providing entre for agencies such as the Department of Education to explore how to stimulate research and promote the integration of media literacy across the curriculum. It also identified production as a core component of effective media literacy education along with critical thinking, critical analysis and preparation for citizenship in a 21st century media culture.

Read the Report

Participants in the Working Group on Media are listed at the end of the report.