New Education Resource to help teach primary schoolchildren about media, advertising and fake news

Wednesday 7 June, 2017. A new free educational resource to help teach primary schoolchildren about the media, advertising and fake news was launched earlier today by safefood. The launch was attended by the Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T.D.

The resource called "MediaWisefrom safefood is an 8 week programme suitable for primary school children of all ages and has been designed to help children makes sense of the media world around them and the many messages that they are exposed to.

Fiona Gilligan, Director, Marketing & Communications, safefood commented:

We know from research that children are bombarded with hundreds of media messages every day, whether that’s advertising, commercial sponsorships, online gaming or social media. Our own research¹ has revealed that children as young as 3 see upwards of 1,000 TV ads for unhealthy foods over the course of a year.

safefood’s remit includes the promotion of health amongst children, and with their exposure to so many messages, MediaWise is about helping them evaluate, interpret and critique these to make healthy choices.”

Media specialist Sheena Horgan continued “The rapid evolution of technology and our appetite for it, means Ireland is a very media-centric environment, and media, in its many forms, plays an important role in our children’s lives. Because of this ubiquity, media literacy is an important and necessary contemporary life skill for children growing up in today’s Information Age. It’s also a requirement for full social participation and active citizenship. As parents, educators, organisations, as a society, we have a duty of care to our children to ensure that the dominance of contemporary media culture is of benefit to our children. Mediawise is about empowering our primary school children to have an active and critical relationship with current and emerging media. A relationship that is based on understanding and self-confidence, that will benefit them as they progress through their childhood and into adult life”.

With research² showing that children are unable to distinguish between content and marketing messages, MediaWise is designed to help children develop a greater understanding of what’s being suggested, promised and sold to them. This will equip them with the skills to make more informed choices.

Primary Schoolteacher at St Senan’s Primary School, Enniscorthy, GearĂ³id McCauley continued “From a teacher's perspective, we hope to meet the needs of our students, and develop their understanding of media. Children are very media and technology savvy but less aware of why the media sends them these messages, and the point of view these messages are trying to get across. As children believe what they see and hear, I feel it’s really important we give children the opportunity to understand what’s coming at them from the media and how they process that information.”

Primary schools can access their free copy of MediaWise online from September this year by visiting where schools can register their interest in the resource.

- Ends -

For more information or to request an interview, please contact

Emma Walsh


Tel: 00353 1 669 0030 Mob: 00353 87 317 0897 (Emma)


Dermot Moriarty / Julie Carroll safefood

Tel: +353 1 448 0600

Mob: +353 (0) 86 381 1034 (Dermot) / +353 (0) 86 601 6005. (Julie)


¹Young children's food brand knowledge. Early development and associations with television viewing and parent's diet” Dr. Mimi Tatlow-Golden & Eilis Hennessy (University College Dublin) Moira Dean & Lynsey Hollywood (Queen’s University Belfast); safefood 2014

²“Who’s feeding the kids online? Digital Food Marketing and Children in Ireland” Dr. Mimi Tatlow-Golden Ph.D. Lynne Tracey BA, FIAPI & Dr. Louise Dolphin Ph.D; Irish Heart Foundation, 2016

Editor’s notes

MediaWise provides 32 lesson plans with 8 lessons for each of the four age groups across primary school. Lessons are suitable for each class grade, linking with a variety of curricular subjects, and using all teaching methodologies including interactive, child-friendly activities. The resource was developed with the input of teachers and an expert group drawn from education, advertising, media and regulation.

The MediaWise Expert Working Group comprised

Chair - Sheena Horgan; Journalist, Author and Consultant in social marketing


  • Marie Banaghan – Teacher, Kilkenny School Project National School
  • Bernie Collins - Lecturer in Social, Personal & Health Education (SPHE), St Patrick’s College Drumcondra, Chair SPHE Network
  • Sheila De Courcy – Cross Divisional Head of Children’s Content, RTE
  • Barry Dooley - Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland ASAI
  • Dr Olivia Freeman - Centre for Consumption and Leisure Studies, College of Business at Dublin Institute of Technology. 
  • Gearoid McCauley – Teacher, St Senan’s Primary School, Enniscorthy
  • Declan McLaughlin - Broadcasting Authority of Ireland
  • Janis Morrissey – Irish Heart Foundation
  • Colman Noctor – Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytical Psychotherapist

Media literacy education programmes for primary school children have been introduced in the UK, Canada and most recently, Taiwan.