Scholars unanimously agree that media literacy protects kids to a certain degree. Awareness raising campaigns have greatly contributed to the creation of media literate approach towards hidden messages of the media. Children who have participated in media literacy programs are capable of reading most of the hidden messages in advertisements, they have less sensitivity towards advertisements selling product within their interests. However, the power of media is impossible to assess.
The images that kids see are preserved in their passive memory and it is extremely difficult to assess in what circumstance the child will have a desire to smoke, to buy a bottle of beer. Stating that media literacy protects kids is right, but the word “partially” should be attached to the statement. From the other hand it should be considered that kids are human beings granted with talents and they should take an active part in promoting media literacy. An extremely valuable practice is when children transfer the knowledge to their homes and start to educate their parents and other members of the family.
Kids are very active and have powerful influence in promoting any ideology they sympathize. Children are also a segment who absorbes knowledge very easily. Their analytical skills are unique and the perception level is very high. The earlier the stage of studying media literacy is, the better results may be achieved in building a media literate society in the future. Establishment of non-violence, non-antisocial behavior and non-politically misled society will be the basis of pure democracy. 2. Does media literacy require student media production activities? Production of media by young people is rarely possible allover the world.
Lack of funding and special media education for young people is not available. This is an aspect that should be promoted first of all by the human rights practitioners. The voice of the youth should be heard. The perception that youth will understand the tools that are utilized in the contemporary media easier if they are directly involved in the process is not justified. Professionally delivered trainings will have more impact rather than the production process of media products. Involvement of the youth in producing their own media is important primarily because their voice needs to be heard.
They are important actors of the society, they are the bearers of the future and they should be among the most important layers of the society to utilize their right of expression. The public needs to have alternative sources of media, free from all the types of unhealthy persuasive messages. 3. Should media literacy have a popular culture bias? Popular culture is always perceived to be a low level culture. Media literacy should be part of a culture; each and every person has the right to be aware of the real nature of images, messages and emotions conveyed by different media.
Media Literacy should be important, but not popular, or trendy. Bill Walsh suggests in his article “Expanding Media Literacy” that the subject is involved in every department and every course. He states that as math, social studies and English courses are required classes in science; reading on media literacy should be a requirement for graduation. Giving media literacy a popular culture bias will have a wider audience, but the effectively cannot be as high when the subject in based on scientific research, facts and figures.
Establishment of media literacy as a discipline in the collage, university and different courses, as well as thematic clubs and societies will make the ideology serious and efficient. Simplicity is important, which will make the spreading of the ideology easier. Popularity always may have the threat to fade and lose its actuality. 4. Should media literacy have a stronger ideological agenda? Random and not serious approach will not have enough power to change the situation. Media literacy should be based on a solid ground.
Businesses, politicians will only put extra efforts to make their messages as powerful as possible if media literacy helps stopping the supply of devoted media consumers and whole segments. Only a strong ideological agenda is capable of building a media literate segment, which will live an independent life and have good knowledge on what products to choose. Government and major NGOs have to secure funds for creating fake free media products. This strategy is extremely difficult to achieve as a large chain of stakeholders are involved there. The importance of the issue is very high.
The ideology should be part of a wide strategy. It should be an issue of national security. Prevalence of media literacy will decrease the mortality rate and make life longer. It will contribute to the development of a healthy generation and formation of family values. The rate of the divorces will also fall. 5. Can media literacy ever reach large numbers of students in K-12 American schools? The current tendencies promise that the number of media literate young people will increase in the course of time. The topic is already popular among media professionals. This initiative has a social and strategic nature.
The pressure of parents will have its’ effect on starting an initiative in the schools which is not cost related, the subject is very appealing and will attract many students, and finally, the threatening statistics on drug and alcohol usage, aggression and antisocial behavior will lead to positive outcomes in the media literacy aspect. A number of organizations, such as Media Sharp, post free of charge training modules, curricula for low grade to high grade teachers, who may download and conduct effective trainings. Again, without the advocacy from the side of public organizations the promotion of this topic is not going to emerge.
A multifaceted approach is required to promote media literacy in order it get integrated in as many structures of lives as possible. 6. Should media literacy initiatives be supported financially by media organizations? An ideal approach a media organization would develop is promoting media literacy. Social responsibility has to be part of the global strategy of the organizations. Media literate audience equipped with critical thinking skills and independent point of view is a wealth for the society. However, these expectations are dreams.
Billions of dollars are channeled thanks to the media illiterate audiences the media organizations have. The limitations they may have after funding a project on this topic may cost their closure. First of all they will have to entirely change their strategy, filter thoroughly the media products, regulate the nature of advertisements and become a social organization without any commercial goals. Filtering will eve cause gaps in the overall program. They will have a great loss financially and in terms of audience. Media literate audiences will avoid watching TV, listening to radio, and buying entertainment magazines.
At the same time, it is not utopia. Due to the increasing number of media literate people media organizations will have to restructure their organizations and be more socially oriented. This is going to be the only way to keep the desired number of audience, and even raise them. The trust towards the media agencies will rise even higher if media organizations start to fund media literacy courses, as well as to promote the ideology in their own products. The reliability of the organization will considerably increase, and the financial incomes also. 7. Is media literacy best understood as simply a means to an end?
Media literacy is both about ending a number of negative phenomena and is about reading the hidden messages. Simple steps may change the global picture. Of course, it is unrealistic to expect that the educational system will rapidly change, teachers will start communicating the media literacy ideology and tools with high professionalism, and children will end dreaming about their first experience to smoke and drink alcoholic beverages during evening parties. There are stereotypes that have already dropped deep roots in today’s society’s psychology, and it will not be possible to eliminate completely.
Parents will continue to serve as an example for their children, and children will face dilemma on which one is right; to buy or not to buy a cloth with a brand name, or to smoke or not to smoke the most dreamed cigars. The media literacy should be an end. It should be an integral part of our lives. It should end violence, addiction towards alcohol, drugs and goods that are not necessary to obtain. Another end that seems extremely important is reaching environment – friendly media products.
References 1. Dr. Renee Hobbs, Media Literacy Review, The Seven Great Debates in the Media Literacy Movement, http://interact. uoregon. edu/MediaLit/JCP/articles_mlr/hobbs/debates. html 2. Gloria DeGaetano, Media Literacy Review, Visual Media and Young Children’s Attention Spans http://interact. uoregon. edu/medialit/jcp/articles_mlr/degaetano/visualmedia. html 3. Bill Walsh, Media Literacy Review, Television Changes us, http://interact. uoregon. edu/mediaLit/JCP/articles_mlr/walsh/Television_Changes_Us. html 4. Bill Walsh, Media Literacy Review, Media Violence and Shades of Grey, http://interact. uoregon. edu/mediaLit/JCP/articles_mlr/walsh/Media_Violence_Shades_Gray. html 5. MediaSharp, Analyzing Tobacco and Alcohol Messages, Leaders Guide