January 17, 2018
The Honorable Bill Dodd
California State Senate
State Capitol, Room 5064
Sacramento, CA 95814
Re: Senate Bill 830 (Dodd): Media Literacy Education
AAP-CA Position: Support
Dear Senator Dodd,
On behalf of the American Academy of Pediatrics, California (AAP-CA), representing over 5,000 California pediatricians, I am writing to express support for SB 830. SB 830 (Dodd) would require the Board of Education to adopt a model curriculum for media-related literacy education for social science curricula, and also require the Department to upload to and maintain on its Internet Web site a list of relevant resources and materials on media literacy, and to ensure that media literacy training opportunities are made available for professional development.
In our most recent Presidential election, the prevalence of fake news garnered national attention, where false and misleading stories from hoax websites outperformed legitimate news stories significantly in terms of social media engagement.
The flood of social media content can make it difficult for the public to differentiate between informational news sources and false or misleading claims. In recent years, on social media, the practice of advertisements impersonating news has also seen an increase.
Recent studies show that two-thirds of American adults use social networking sites, and the use of social media is ubiquitous among the youngest adults, with over 90 percent of young men and women using social media. Social implications of technological developments are pervasive, and the influence of digital media platforms will continue to evolve and expand.
A recent Stanford study shows 82 percent of middle school students struggle to distinguish news stories from advertisements. It is imperative that our state’s education standards reflect the need for increased media literacy, so that young adults have the ability to analyze and interpret information consumed from countless media outlets.
For the reasons stated, American Academy of Pediatrics, California is pleased to support SB 830 and thanks you for authoring this important measure. We thank you for your leadership on behalf of the health and well-being of children, youth, and families in California.
Mona Patel, M.D., Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics
Co-Chair, State Government Affairs Committee, American Academy of Pediatrics, California