This article asks media educators to consider how the assumptions and values we hold are reflected in our reception and circulation of youth-produced texts in ways that colonize youth interests, sensibilities, and aesthetics. Drawing from experiences facilitating youth media workshops and focusing on two videos produced by teens in foster care as case studies, I demonstrate how youth media programs overlook the value of “just for fun” youth-produced media texts. Although media educators value play as part of the media production process, I argue that the media we choose to circulate and celebrate are texts that resonate with and reflect adult values; this is because playful media texts are less likely to legitimize adult institutions and pedagogies. I propose that a youth-centered reading of playful youth media requires us to: acknowledge that the adult reading is not the dominant reading, validate memetic literacies, and legitimize embodied playfulness and pleasure. Circulating illegible youth media shifts how media educators read and articulate the values of playful texts.
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Vickery, J. R. (2022). Are we centering the adult in youth media education? Decolonizing the reception of youth-produced media texts. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 14(1), 124-136. https://doi.org/10.23860/JMLE-2022-14-1-9