Media Smarts (formerly the Media Awareness Network) is a Canadian non-profit organization based in Ottawa that focuses on media literacy programs. In particular, the organization promotes critical thinking via education resources and analyzes the content of various types of mass media. Surveys and studies performed by Media Smarts have explored youth media consumption, such as television and internet use, as well as media issues. In recent years the organization's focus has shifted more heavily to digital literacy, although it continues to produce resources on traditional media.
The funding for Media Smarts is primarily derived from private sector sponsors and Canadian Government grants. The group partnered with Microsoft and Bell Canada to produce web resources for teachers and parents to protect kids online. Media Smarts has received a number of awards for its work, including an award from the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and several online awards for web-based content.
One of the large studies undertaken by Media Smarts is Young Canadians in a Wired World, a research study to investigate and track and the "behaviors, attitudes, and opinions" of Internet use in Canadian children and youth. Results from this study, which indicate high levels of personal information collection by websites popular with children, have been cited to argue that parental supervision of child internet use alone "cannot adequately protect children" that have the highest levels of social internet use.
Formerly Media Awareness Network, Media Smarts was launched on May 29, 2012 with a new name, logo and website. The new brand was developed pro-bono by Toronto-based advertising agency, Brand works.
Media Literacy Week
Media Literacy Week. is an annual event that takes place every November. Co-lead by Media Smarts and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, the week puts a spotlight on the importance of digital and media literacy as a key component in the education of children and young people. Working with Canadian schools, libraries, and educational associations and organizations, Media Literacy Week participants seek to inspire a leap in Canadians’ thinking towards media education as an important – and innovative – approach towards creating thoughtful, engaged and informed young people.
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