Empowering students to respond to alcohol advertisements: Results from a pilot study of an Australian media literacy intervention
Objective: Alcohol media literacy programs in the United States have increased students' media literacy skills and lowered pre-drinking behaviour. In Australia, no such programs have yet been implemented or evaluated. This pilot study aimed to examine the feasibility and potential impact of an alcohol media literacy program for Australian upper-primary school children. Methods: Thirty-seven Year 5 and 6 students (aged 10-12) from one school in the Sydney region participated in 10 one-hour media lessons. Teacher interviews, student exit slips, teacher observations and a researcher reflective journal were analysed to examine the implementation process, while a pre- and post-questionnaire was analysed to measure outcome. Results: Key factors in implementation were the importance of school context; attainment of English and PDHPE learning outcomes to differing extents; program's useability provided flexibility; perceived complexity and achievability of the lessons and program's engagement and relevance for the students. The program significantly increased media literacy skills and understanding of persuasive intent; decreased interest in alcohol branded merchandise; and lowered perception of drinking norms. Conclusion and implications: An Australian alcohol media literacy program for upper-primary school children appears feasible, and has potential to lead to measurable outcomes.