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Media Literacy-Are We Media Literates?

Posted: October 7, 2020
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In an age where misinformation spreads faster than needed information, media literacy cannot take a back seat. Read further to find out why.

Media in the age of Covid-19

E-learning or blended learning during Covid-19 opened up many doors for teachers and students as well. A flood of information and messages are engrossing us all, even children have also become victim of it but it has become a necessity too.

In our previous old normal days requirements of interference of media in our lives was not so inevitable as today. We had heard many times of kids watching advertisements of super heroes, imitating them and jumping from a height or small children eating soap because they thought there was milk in it. Today also, we remain prey to misinformation from the media.

The fear of Covid-19 or has caused panic. Kids, elders ,adults all were disillusioned about facts regarding Covid-19. Uncertainty, misinformation and uncooked news about any event or problem creates chaos and ambiguity which result in fatal decisions. It can affect anyone including children.

Media literacy and children

Kids are innocent and quick to imitate what they see. They do not know real from artificial. Only thing they know is to perceive things as served to them. A child’s mind is a wet clay which can be moulded into any shape. So it is up to us adults to shape their lives into desired form.

Parents today complain that their kids do not obey them and curse technology for it. Digitalized life has de-sensitized lives of many but we can not stop evolving. In fact, today during Covid-19 it is a requisite in our lives. An example is online education.

Technology- a necessary evil

Every thing has its pros and cons. Today we blame technology but as parents we also need to make kids aware how to make use of technology. Specifically to small kids.

We are living in digital era. We all including children are infected and affected by media. Today kids are also the soft target of technology and media advancement. Children have become media obsessed. What actually children need and what is being served to them by media is totally different.

We have acquired degrees, we are highly educated but are we “Media Literates”?

An accurate interpretation is key

Today media has been entrusted to infotain children- media not only entertains them but passes on information also. Apart from contemporary education our children require skills to access, analyse, interpret and evaluate media messages that too as early as possible. Kids need to  understand and interpret the media messages correctly.

In kids, the ability of Comprehension is not as perfect as elders. They constantly need guidance of parents and elders to interpret and analyse what the media is serving them.

Unless we are able to make good choices, acquire survival skills, become thoughtful consumers and learn to handle information rather than just accumulate it, our education system will prove to be futile.

Why media literacy is important today

Parents and teachers collectively can take the initiatives to work on media literacy, which is no longer separable from regular education now. A mentor, guru, teacher can be your family, friends or any one. Right mentoring at right time by real guru is important.

Role of the school

For Media literacy, Media clubs in school can train students to develop  an understanding of the effects of mass media in their daily life. They  understand their own media habits which includes what they are watching, reading and listening to and how media content can influence them.

Students can learn to  conduct surveys in their  schools to keep record of  their media habits.

How much time should be given to media watching  and which program to watch ,all can be included in media time table. Suggested programs  are discussed there once in 15 Or 20 days.

Inculcating the habits to read newspapers and magazines, can also be one of its purposes. Increasing the literary habits and appreciating good messages, everything is learnt there. Parents and teachers together can organize and conduct such lessons for them.

There they can be taught how to publish school newspapers or magazines which should be based on themes of social awareness.

Teaching them to make and understand advertisements and learn the impact of advertisements, social messages, campaigns today is important.

The Media club can teach to do screening of educative films for kids. Visits to a local radio station, TV Studio, printing press can be arranged for school students.

Letter to the editor on social and progressive issues can be included.

Role of the parents

Parents at home can assist them in conducting such events and can help them to inculcate these habits right from a young age.

Today we can not ignore technology and media, we need to make intelligent use of it and to take the best out of it instead of becoming the victim of its derelictions.

Though Media Literacy is an independent subject in 11th 12th grades, learning to analyse media messages and media habits should ideally start early in formal and informal education.

Because I assume most of us believe that
“Education lies not in information but in transformation of minds”. Let us be Media Literates!

Image credit- Nathana Reboucas

Pen woman who weaves words into expressions.Doctorate in Mass Communication. Blogger and Communication Skills

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