Research shows that young people are likely to encounter considerable amounts of violence in the media they use. Some of those depictions trivialize the severity of violence. Past studies show that media literacy education can spur critical thinking regarding violent portrayals in media texts. But rarely do prior studies employ qualitative methods to understand how young media audience members reason through the key question of whether media violence is either surprising or concerning. In the current study, an in-school media literacy program is offered to 48 6th graders who provide data in the form of written responses to a number of critical thinking prompts applied to media texts containing violence. The findings suggest that although most members of the sample readily noticed violent depictions in media texts and could critique the manner in which violence is depicted, relatively few expressed either surprise or concern about those depictions.
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Scharrer, E., & Zhou, Y. (2021). A qualitative study of early adolescents’ critical thinking about the content and consequences of media violence. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 13(3), 97-110. https://doi.org/10.23860/JMLE-2021-13-3-8