Teaching kids about the violence they see in the media goes a long way in teaching them about real-world violence. This includes reducing extreme cases when bullying becomes physical.
Media Power Youth, a Manchester-based nonprofit, has received $50,000 in state money to develop free curricula and teacher training and to develop youth programs in a handful of communities.
Gov. Maggie Hassan announced the project alongside Deputy Attorney General Ann Rice, the commissioners of the departments of education and health and human services, U.S. Attorney John Kacavas and several other groups.
“While not the only cause of violence, media is increasingly shaping the choices, attitudes, behaviors and learning abilities of children and teens,” Hassan said.
This year’s budget included $100,000 in grant funding for violence prevention, and the Executive Council approved the $50,000 grant for the first year of the program earlier this year.
With the money, Media Power Youth will develop curricula aimed at fifth-graders that will teach them to evaluate media messages such as movie violence and relate it to their own behaviors, and the Department of Education will help make this information available online.
Media Power Youth will also select five model communities, including Manchester, where it will develop middle, high school and parent education programs that rely on community partnerships with law enforcement and other groups. The other four communities haven’t been chosen, but will include geographically and economically diverse areas.
Rona Zlokower, executive director of Media Power Youth, said media literacy has been proven to help children make better choices, resulting in greater empathy, healthier lifestyles and higher academic performance.
Kacavas, the U.S. attorney, applauded the program for its proactive approach to preventing violence.