Students learn the importance of media literacy for the new generation. Photo Credits: Jessica Griffin, Staff Photographer from The Philadelphia Inquirer
Children are growing up in a digital age; An age where information is highly accessible but not always truthful; By inserting media literacy into the school curriculum, students can weed out misinformation and make informed choices. We are now able to access information from anywhere at any time. The internet can provide us with extensive information on any topic however it can also give articles that are misinformed and exceptionally biased. This is a different world compared to back then, children are going to be able to learn things separate from schools and their parents.
The world is more open with the knowledge they can gather, but how do we know they are learning from the right sources? Media Literacy is becoming more important by the day and children should be taught how to differentiate between bias, advertisements, and credible information. Media literacy isn’t something that should only be taught to students but also to older adults. The world has now shifted into being digital and this comes with new ways of learning and accessing information.
Children are now being born in an age where media and the internet are at the forefront of the world. Adults and children alike spend many hours at their desks accessing the internet for entertainment and work-related tasks. For students and adults that need factual information for their projects, assignments, or essays; Media literacy will become the skill that they’ll need.
However, we can make the transition seamless for the next generation and future generations by teaching media literacy through the school curriculum. Media literacy should be taught to students during their developing stages (kindergarten – 12th grade). This is a skill that needs to be developed and continuously exercised to be able to fully utilize. All social media platforms such as Twitter, TikTok, Instagram and Facebook are the opinions of friends and family instead of credible sources.
Students should learn to differentiate between opinions and information that have credible sources and are backed up by facts such as statistics and research. The goal of the program should be the ability for students to see a news article and be able to determine if this information is true or false, by doing their research. Most children receive phones before entering middle school, they should be taught how to navigate the internet and information before then.
This is why we require classes or a curriculum that focuses on parts of the digital world; Most people will spend the majority of their lives on the Internet. When discussing real-life events, their information can be misconstrued, and then even more misinformation is spread between friends and families. The network of information is an important part of life.
The internet is plagued with misinformation and bias. For example, most of the information regarding different wars is biased toward one group of people or a certain faction. Popular news outlets will only report on certain struggles and within a week, the information is forgotten or the topic isn’t a featured story anymore. This can lead to confusion among the elderly and students. By implementing a curriculum that focuses on media literacy, students can learn how to confirm the articles they read by going to multiple sources, discussing with classmates, and forming/reflecting on their views on the topics. By having a hands-on learning experience, students can learn to differentiate between fake news and real information. Implementing media literacy will help students develop their critical thinking skills and make informed choices.
Some people may argue that media literacy is a skill that students or young adults can learn on their own by accessing and using the internet through everyday use. However, without knowing how to access certain information such as government websites, official studies, or scientific articles and instead using ill-informed information can ruin your presentation or essay. Not only important work or school-related tasks but it can affect everyday life.
Some information that you can find on the internet can be related to your health. Maybe someone finds an article that says cigarettes or drinking can improve your health, if this is believed it may affect the health of the individual who read it and cause even more problems. Also, social media can affect the way people think, such as bad trends. For example, there were trends that focused on children eating tide pods that would make whoever ate it sick or outright kill them. It’s important to recognize that not everything on the internet is there to help you.
Media Literacy is an important skill to have during this digital age. Media Literacy is a skill that most people still struggle with, as media such as the internet and social media is a concept that is still relatively new to the world. Misinformation can be spread quickly and have people ill-informed about serious topics.
Children are being exposed to information that isn’t truthful and if they spread this information, the misinformation spreads. Sometimes that information can be harmful to oneself or others. The school systems should introduce a curriculum that trains students to understand how to navigate and research information on the internet. These classes should happen in the developing stages of youth such as kindergarten to high school. It should also expand to older people too that aren’t used to the internet and its resources.