Media Diets: A College Student Perspective

Comments From My College Students on Their Media Diets…

  • Common results of their reported media diet and exposure:

    • Consumed media in the dorms or on-campus
    • Engaged in media consumption rather than media creation (yet, media creation like making a video/music, writing a blog, journaling can be much more relaxing and cathartic)
    • Music, social media, Netflix, and texting were common
    • News consumption and reading for fun were least common, but we know that news consumption and reading for fun are two of the BEST activities to improve your learning
  • Problem of turning to phones when bored

    • The value of being still is not taught anymore
    • Clearing your mind and allowing yourself to ponder, reflect, and create ideas can help us relax and reduce anxiety
    • PollEverywhere: “Do you turn to your phones when you are bored?”
    • College students reported feeling shy, quiet, or awkward when she/he didn’t have their phones to distract them in social situations
    • Start practicing being an interactive, friendly, and open human now, before you get to college.
    • HSI helps you make that first step. Encourage yourself to practice striking up conversations with new people at school. That’s what you’ll need to do in college to make friends.
  • Students reported a wide variety of media impacts, but common examples were:

    • Body image: The media that we consume negatively impacts our confidence. Why would you keep exposing yourself to someone who constantly makes fun of you? Think of media consumption of distorted body images the same way. Don’t expose yourself to media that glorifies unrealistic body images. If you do expose yourself, be sure you remember that advertising purposefully distorts body image and entertainment media does not promote healthy body image role models (for the most part).
    • Romantic expectations: The media does not tell stories of realistic romance. Media love stories are fantastical, whimsical, and funny, but oftentimes don’t show the hard work, dedication, grit, challenges, tragedies, and sometimes just plain mundane-ness of real love.
    • Limited view of world by narrow exposure to news: We realized that there is so much more to news than what we see on our social media feeds or what’s on TV. Expose yourself to different news media, like the BBC, Al Jazeera English, NPR, PBS, your local newspaper, The Denver Post, and more.

Broadening Our Perspective on Media Effects

Key Idea:

When we take a four-dimensional perspective of effects, we can better appreciate the broad range of effects the media are constantly exerting on us.

1. Timing of Effects

  • Immediate: During or immediately after exposure (e.g., screaming during a horror movie)
  • Long-term: Show up after many exposures; slow and gradual (e.g., stereotype development)
  • Immediate effects are easier to notice

2. Type of Effects

  • Cognitive: Media can immediately plant ideas and information in our thoughts.
  • Belief: Media can illustrate beliefs (faith that something is real or true)
  • Attitudinal: Media can influence our evaluative judgments (attitudes rely on beliefs)
  • Emotional: Media can trigger an emotional reaction (immediate or long-term)
  • Physiological: Media can arouse or calm you (beyond conscious control: blood pressure, heart rate, pupils)
  • Behavioral: Media can trigger behavior (immediate or long-term)
  • Macro: Media influence society’s structure: politics, family composition, religion, etc.

3. Valence of Effects

Positive or negative direction: Value-laden

Individual perspective

  • Example (Positive): Influence of YouTube on learning about your course
  • Example (Negative): Influence of YouTube on learning how to become anorexic

Societal perspective

  • Example (Positive): Media promote peace, cooperation, and health through coverage of the Olympics
  • Example (Negative): Media promote perceptions of crime and violence

4. Intentionality of Effects

  • Expose ourselves to media for certain reason: intended effect
  • Unintended effects occur often when we are in state of automaticity
  • Simultaneous intended and unintended
  • Actively analyze and evaluate messages to gain more control

Don’t Be a Faulty Thinker

Do not:

Have a narrow perspective on media effects

Believe that media effects only happen to other people


Take a broader perspective on media effects

With that, you’ll have more awareness and control over what media effects you desire and what you want to avoid

Media Effects Bingo

Goal: Familiarize yourself with the 4-dimensional perspective on media effects

Task: Listen to scenario. Cross out square when you match a scenario to the media effect. Keep track of which scenarios go where on your BINGO sheet.

What Media Literacy Topics Do You Want to Talk About Next Week?


Campus Photography Trip: The Geological Museum and Berry Biodiversity Center

Let’s get up and moving with our cameras! First, we will spend 15 minutes in the Geological Museum and then we will walk to the Berry Biodiversity Center and spend another 15 minutes there.

These field trips offer you practice at taking photos in low-light situations and indoor fluorescent light situations. Keep your camera or phone extra still and/or adjust the manual settings on your camera to accommodate for these situations.

Keep moving around, too. Think about how you can get a creative shot that no other students will get. Look where everyone else is going, and think how you can be different!