Media Detective is an activity-based, media literacy, alcohol and tobacco use prevention program that engages students from the first moment of class until the final lesson. The program consists of ten lessons, approximately 45 minutes each in length, which have been based on established models of decision-making and research on message interpretation. This program is the result of a collaboration among child clinical and developmental psychologists, media literacy experts, veteran teachers, students, and substance abuse prevention professionals.
Led by the dynamic detective duo, Snoop and Scoop (dog and cat mascots), students are taught to unravel the mysteries associated with media messages and advertisements by attending Media Detective School. Students “enroll” in Media Detective School for two weeks and learn five clues to help them to solve the mystery of advertising.
The lessons consist of interactive activities, hands-on practice, and group work that teach critical thinking skills that build cumulatively upon one another throughout the program. Students discover the media world around them and apply these skills to better understand what messages are being sent to them, particularly pro-drug messages about alcohol and tobacco products. It is intended that students then apply those skills in everyday life to be able to stop and think before accepting media messages. It is hoped that students will question what they should do, think, buy, or believe in relation to media messages and become more active viewers who will make more informed choices. The lessons build skills progressively and are filled with many aha” moments as students take a closer look at the media and the world around them. This is an evidence-based program listed on SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices.