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What is media literacy and why is it important?

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Anyone from the President of the United States to a classy toddler can carry an iPhone and send bulk messages to hundreds and thousands of online influencers. We connect at the push of a button and make decisions in no time It is therefore particularly important for employees, students, influencers and everyday users to have media literacy and to understand the consequences of online actions.

The educators have adapted to the times and integrated media literacy into the educational standards of each federal state through a variety of subjects. From language arts to math, humanities and social sciences, any curriculum can touch digital messaging.

Regardless of how media literacy is introduced, it is important that educators help learners develop critical thinking and understand the impact media messages have on society. Teachers should also teach students to assess the validity of words, produce original content, and use their voice to improve the media landscape and anyone affected by a SEND, UPLOAD, or TWEET button.

What is media literacy?

According to the National Association for Media Literacy Education, media literacy is the ability to use, analyze, evaluate, shape, and act on all forms of communication. Media literacy means everything from interpreting emojis to understanding the underlying messages in online advertising, to producing viral video content and recognizing native advertising.

While media literacy sounds like a practical skill anyone with Internet access can understand, it is amazing how many online users are unaware of its impact on others and their own vulnerability to media manipulation.

We name three reasons why it is important for both young users and networked professionals to be able to master the media chaos fluently.

Critical thinking

Media literacy is about finding the untold story among film clips, radio spots, and newspaper articles. Even company-sponsored content contains hidden messages that challenge us to think beyond what we hear and see.

For example, teaching students to deconstruct messages in a pen advertisement that degrade female consumers’ intelligence, challenge them to broaden their thinking and refuse to accept questionable content.

Understanding why a company markets pink pens to girls and what it means for society forces students to take a mental leap: promoting applications in the real world.

Developing critical thinking skills through media messages also strengthens the power of observation.

Why is that important?

Observation and interpretation are skills that go beyond resisting defective advertising. Questioning the norm and reinterpreting layers of everyday news gives students everything they need to become smart decision makers in real-world scenarios.

Self-presentation

Film students watch classic films to understand how directors capture an emotion effectively and artistically. Aspiring designers analyze successful advertisements to determine how color, proximity, font, imagery, and text contribute to a reliable message. Writers read novels, scripts, and magazine articles to understand sentence structure and powerful imagery.

Studying how other media relay to communicate a particular message or emotion,

helps students effectively design and produce their own content.

With fierce competition and market saturation, media is now out-of-the-box than ever, and watching the best of the best is enough to get anyone creative.

Even hedge fund owners and top lawyers and financial accountants rely on their creative muscles to solve problems. So train them early on and integrate media literacy into every lesson plan!

Civic responsibility

Current issues are voiced between the curtains of late-night comedy shows, magazine covers and consecutive 30-second political ads.

In a few years of education, students will be the masterminds of these viral videos, presidential campaigns, and glossy publications. And if content is fair and just, knowledge of media literacy is always the ethical blueprint behind it.

Without studying the specifics of media chaos, we miss the unspoken moral guidelines that guide every digital decision. So why not do everything possible to make the campaign managers of tomorrow reject hate speech and hatred?

Not to mention, it is impossible to decipher falsehood from fact without successfully distinguishing between campaign satire and political truth, propaganda and fair advertising.

In a world where media travels faster than air, media literacy is key to keeping communities well informed and well represented.

Finally…

Every day we watch a television commercial, listen to a radio broadcast, watch a movie, read a magazine, and interpret complex messages broadcast over various digital channels.

As an educator, if you are looking for ways to spice up a lesson plan or encourage engaging learning, consider linking your typical curriculum to media literacy.

The next generation of smart consumers will thank you.

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