Media is the plural of Medium. Merriam- Webster dictionary's definition is: (1) a channel or system of communication; information or entertainment- compare mass media (2) a publication or broadcast that carries advertising (3) a mode of artistic expression or communication (4) something (as a magnetic disk) on which information may be stored. Media includes movies television, magazines, music, music videos, books, newspapers, advertising, video games and the Internet. It includes cell phones, computers, iPods, Wii, iPhones, DVD players, digital cameras, billboards. Media is evolving as new technologies are developed.
What is Media Literacy and Media Education? Young Media Critics believe that it is important to teach the students to "ask - and find answers to -important questions." ( Journal of Media Literacy Education 3:1(2011) 16-22).
What is Media Literacy? Media literacy and media education empowers people to be both critical thinkers and creative producers of an increasingly wide range of messages using images, language, and sound. It is the skillful application of literacy skills to media and technology messages. As communication technologies transform society, they impact our understanding of ourselves, our communities, and our diverse cultures, making media literacy an essential life skill for the 21st century. (Alliance for a Media Literate America, 2001) Young Media Critics - Advocates for Media and Digital Literacy provide awareness, builds understanding of the role of media in our society as well as the necessary skills of inquiry and self -expression.
What Media Literacy is NOT
• Media 'bashing' is NOT media literacy, however media literacy often involves criticizing the media. • Merely producing media is NOT media literacy, although media literacy should include media production and interactive activities and projects • Simply looking for political agendas, stereotypes or misrepresentations is NOT media literacy; there should also be an exploration of the systems making them appear "normal" • Media Literacy does NOT mean "don't watch, " it means "watch carefully, think critically, participate actively." • Merely producing media is NOT media literacy, although media literacy should include media production and interactive activities and projects. • Just bringing videos, the internet or other mediated content into the classroom is NOT media literacy; one must also explore the nature of media and media messages in our culture • Looking at a media message or experience from just one perspective in NOT media literacy because media should be examined from multiple positions. (From Renee Hobbs, Chris Worsnop, Neil Anderson, Jeff Share and Scott Sullivan)
Digital Literacy What is Digital Literacy?
Digital literacy is the ability to find, evaluate, utilize, share, and create content using information technologies and the Internet. As a student, activities including writing papers, creating multimedia presentations, and posting information about yourself or others online are all a part of your day-to-day life, and all of these activities require varying degrees of digital literacy. Is simply knowing how to do these things enough? No—there’s more to it than that.
Consider how easy it is to cut, paste, share, rip, burn, and post media—at home and in the classroom. These activities seem as though they must be legal and appropriate, because they’re so easy to perform. Unfortunately, the assumption that what can be done, may be done, is often wrong.
Digital literacy is an important topic because technology is changing faster than society is. The same advances that enhance leisure and make our work easier—those that make it possible for us to search online databases, text friends, and stream media—also present urgent challenges to the social norms, market models, and legal frameworks that structure our society. The rules of appropriate behavior in these digital contexts may be unknown or unknowable. Well-established concepts such as copyright, academic integrity, and privacy are now difficult to define, as their meanings are in flux. Well-known Journalist and PBL expert Suzie Boss tells us "Why Media Literacy is Just Not For Kids". Ms. Boss proposes that media and digital literacy is essential for all citizens nationwide.
We get our information and entertainment from media. We learn all kinds of things about our world. Media messages inform, entertain and can even persuade us. The common thread of media messages is that they INFLUENCE us. Often times the media is not telling us the whole story. That can be a problem.
Who’s Raising Our Kids? “Today our children are not brought up by parents; they are brought up by the mass media.” ~Margaret Mead, cultural anthropologist
Children and Advertising
The average American child may view as many as 40,000 television commercials every year ( Strasburger, 2001) In 2001 teenagers, ages twelve to nineteen spent $172 billion (an average of $104 per teen each week), up 11 percent from $155 billion in 2000 (Teen Research Unlimited, 2002)
Children and Violence By age 18, the average American child will have viewed about 200,000 acts of violence on television.
· "Whoever tells the stories defines the culture." “For the first time in human history, children are hearing most of the stories, most of the time, not from their parents or school or churches or neighbors, but from a handful of global conglomerates that have something to sell. It is impossible to overestimate the radical effect that this has on the way our children grow up, the way we live, and the way we conduct our affairs.” —George Gerbner, Professor of Communications and Dean Emeritus, Annenberg School of Communication in Philadelphia
So, Is there a Problem? Yes
We are the most heavily mediated society in the world. Our day - to- day lives in this media culture are saturated with images, words, and sounds that influence and shape our beliefs, values, and behavior. Often children are confused by the conflicting messages they receive from the media, their parents, their faith community, and peers.
Parents are overwhelmed, frustrated and concerned: Overwhelmed by the fast pace of new technologies of which their children are experts. Frustrated by the saturation of the media messages which are contrary to their beliefs and values. Concerned because of the poor choices being made by kids who choose to engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as drugs, drinking, unsafe sex and unsafe diets and eating habits
What Connects all of this: We cannot attribute all the ills to mass media, however we must realize that mass media does influence us in not only a positive way but also in a negative way. Many studies have been conducted and the results show that mass media is a major contributor to influencing all of our behavior, attitudes, and values especially those of our young people. Media messages are powerful because they are persuasive, pervasive, and cumulative. Media messages leak into our conscious level as well as our unconscious level.
Solution: Media Literacy to create Media & Digital Awareness and Provide Media & Digital Education
Young Media Critics...advocates for Media & Digital Literacy Copyright 2005