California passes media literacy education laws

California has passed a law to introduce media literacy classes in all schools across the U.S. state, the fourth state to do so.
california media literacy law

California has passed a law to introduce media literacy classes in all schools across the U.S. state.

Media literacy refers to how a person identifies and understands the messages they see across media – like news, social media and other online content.

Under the new law students will learn how to safely and critically consume media. It comes after lawmakers flagged the negative impact of misinformation on young people.

Media literacy

Media literacy lessons can help students identify misinformation online, which can impact a person’s worldviews and decisions.

It also hopes to elevate understanding about paid content. The laws cited a 2016 study by Stanford University, which surveyed over 200 students aged 10-14. It found 82% of respondents thought a news ad labelled as ‘sponsored content’ was
a real news story.


New laws will require schools to teach media literacy to students from kindergarten to year 12. Lessons will be incorporated into mathematics, science, and history/social science curriculums.

Classes could be taught as early as next year. The media literacy content is yet to be finalised.

Similar media literacy measures are underway in the U.S. states of New Jersey, Delaware, and Texas.

Australian literacy

A 2021 survey led by the Australian Media Literacy Alliance found 30% of Australians had a “low” level of media literacy, with worse results for older Australians.

Australia’s school curriculum includes media literacy teaching. However, the study found the quality of these lessons was inconsistent around the country.

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