A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that MediaBreaker is a Knight Foundation-funded online video editor by the LAMP (Learning About Multimedia Project) nonprofit that lets kids take copyrighted videos from YouTube for the purpose of editing or remixing them into critiques about cultural standards and norms to "talk back" to media messages. By adding their own sounds, text, commentary, and imagery, kids will create and post critical "media break" videos that encourage calling out media for stereotypical representations and misleading messages. While learning how to use the tool, kids will also learn and practice fair use, which grants reuse of copyrighted material if the recreation is critical (and not simply mean), looks significantly different from the original, and only uses the minimal amount of the original material necessary. Sharing and posting on the public MediaBreaker YouTube channel are vetted.
What's it about?
MEDIABREAKER encourages media literacy in a rather unique way. Using deturl.com, kids take YouTube videos and enter them into the MediaBreaker online video editor with new titles. Kids then add their own text, audio, clips, images, and effects to critique or point out unfair social representations of gender, race, sexuality, and/or class. The goal is to remix media into media "breaks" that call out misrepresentations, question sources of information in our media, or deconstruct narratives in music videos and commercials. Kids can "kudo" other kids’ work, and teachers and educators can moderate from within their own "studios" of custom libraries of videos. MediaBreaker provides lessons and guides on "fair use," "proper use," and "critical commentary" and offers plenty of "inspirational videos" to prompt creativity.
Is it any good?
Specifically developed for educational purposes but usable by anyone, this online video-editing site allows for quick manipulation of media clips. Free and inviting, kids, teachers, and parents alike will quickly master the basic functions provided and will enjoy playing around with different fonts or fun sound effects for critical effect. Kids will learn the importance of using copyrighted work only in "transformative" ways, how to be critical and not simply observational, and how not to disparage products. MediaBreaker's nonprofit organization has other integrated initiatives as well that further help kids learn about media literacy and responsible media consumption. It's only downside is the fact that virtually any media can be used on the site, which risks chances that younger kids may see inappropriate content that's critiqued by older teen users. But if your kid is interested in becoming a savvy media observer and participant rather than a passive viewer, MediaBreaker could be an excellent tool used under supervision.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what counts as media, how media conveys its messages, and how media normalizes attitudes and behaviors. Can you tell the difference between producing entertainment and producing stereotypes of people in media?
Families can talk about copyright, fair use, proper use, and proper critical commentary. How do you know what fair and proper use of media is? Is it always easy to tell?
Families can talk about gender and racial stereotypes in media and how they're reinforced.
- Subjects: Language & Reading: discussion, forming arguments, presenting to others, storytelling, text analysis
Social Studies: citizenship, cultural understanding, power structures
Arts: film, photography, script writing
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: asking questions, decision-making, thinking critically
Creativity: brainstorming, making new creations
Communication: asking questions, conveying messages effectively, presenting
Collaboration: cooperation, group projects, respecting other viewpoints
Responsibility & Ethics: embracing differences, following codes of conduct, honoring the community, making wise decisions, respect for others
Tech Skills: digital creation, evaluating media messages, using and applying technology
- Genre: Educational
- Pricing structure: Free
For kids who love critical thinking
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