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Media literacy is finest outlined as the flexibility to entry, create, analyze, and consider messages in quite a lot of types. Anybody can submit practically something at any time, from just about wherever, and there are only a few restrictions or high quality management checks utilized to what seems on-line. To make issues worse, “deepfake” media (images, movies, and audio recordings which have been manipulated) is turning into extra refined and fewer simply discernible. As such, it’s crucial as accountable residents that we use our essential pondering and analytical abilities to judge the authenticity of content material we eat, particularly if we intend to share it with others. Listed here are ten actions that you should utilize to show youth to assist them develop of their media literacy abilities and transfer from passive to energetic, essential consumption of what they see, hear, and skim on-line.
FILL IN THE BLANK ACTIVITY. Seize a latest on-line article that college students would discover attention-grabbing and related, and blackout key info within the article earlier than presenting it to them. As an example, you may mark out the date, occasions, and places, in addition to the names, race, gender, whether or not they’re a star or one other public character, and some other figuring out parts. Then, have college students learn the redacted article and write out their reflections, opinions, and concepts as to what was redacted. As soon as finished, present them with the unique article inclusive of the entire particulars you eliminated. Ask them once more to replicate on the article and decide if and the way their notion of what occurred modified. The exercise reveals how essential sure parts of a narrative are, and the way they shade our perceptions of what occurred.
THEMATIC CREATIONS OF VARIOUS ERAS. Have college students create a poster, infographic, or set of memes for a particular decade by utilizing data discovered on-line. As an example, you might need them watch video clips and skim tales concerning the Nineties. This content material may embody political adverts, music movies, movie star information, public service bulletins, and extra. After reviewing all of those social artifacts, sure themes and patterns will rise to the highest. We then need them to painting the tone and tenor of the occasions by synthesizing essentially the most related and compelling items right into a single product. Allow them to present their very own perceptions, reasonably than being knowledgeable by historical past books and older members of the family. After they end, they may learn what historical past books say concerning the Nineties, or chat with adults who lived by that decade, and see if their perspective (primarily based on the media of the occasions) and the historic actuality align.
EVALUATE MEDIA-SHAPED PERCEPTIONS OF BEAUTY. Have college students analyze how the media impacts their perceptions of magnificence, health, well being, and movie star/influencer tradition. Assign teams of scholars to one in all these classes, and activity them with figuring out 5 commercials from YouTube which might be consultant of every theme. Are these commercials inclusive of their portrayal of people of various races, ethnicities, genders, physique varieties, and sexual orientation? Do they have an inclination to raise sure definitions of magnificence, health, well being, and movie star/influencer tradition whereas de-emphasizing others? Ask college students the way it impacts them as viewers, each of their ideas in addition to in how they attempt to look and act. Ask the way it may have an effect on a few of their friends, particularly those that don’t match sure stereotypes deemed most fascinating by messages from media. The objective right here is to grasp the sheer energy that media has on our psyche, well-being, targets, and outlook on life.
TIME MACHINE ACTIVITY. Divide college students into two teams and informally label them liberals or conservatives. Relying on their age, chances are you’ll want to elucidate the fundamental tenets of each views. Then assign them the duty of making a time machine that will likely be opened in precisely 100 years from now by future college students at your college. What would they accumulate and put in that point machine to depict the true situation (constructive and destructive) of your nation most precisely within the present 12 months to these college students 100 years from at present? (Maybe these within the “conservative” group would come with photos of human fetuses and/or gang violence by minority teams whereas these within the “liberals” group would come with photos of melting icebergs and/or unemployed, homeless conflict veterans.) After giving them time to complete this exercise, have every group current and focus on the contents of their time machine with the remainder of the category. Lastly, focus on how people can have utterly totally different interpretations of the state of our nation and our folks, primarily based on the worldview they undertake and the messages they’ve heard.
CLICKBAIT HEADLINES. Ask college students to every accumulate ten clickbait headlines from varied on-line information sources (for youthful college students chances are you’ll must counsel explicit retailers). These needs to be ones that college students consider deliberately lure or dupe folks into clicking the hyperlink, and which then underdeliver or in any other case fail to stay as much as the promise of the headline. They’ll screenshot them on any system they’ve. Ask them additionally to replicate on cases once they have been tricked to click on by headlines on the Internet, social media, or streaming platforms. How did they really feel emotionally? Did it make them much less prone to belief the supply? Assist them to understand that one of the best technique to counter clickbait is by ignoring the headlines and simply utilizing Google to individually seek for the subject material they’re fascinated with. Clicking on clickbait headlines simply encourages retailers to maintain producing and utilizing them, so self-control is important.
ASSESS THE PLATFORM. Adults usually try and defend youngsters from information programming as a result of the highest tales are likely to characteristic violence and terror, or are more and more polarizing within the content material they share. Nevertheless, as they enter their teenage years it’s helpful to research packages on varied channels. Spend fifteen minutes you’re your college students watching programming on one information channel, after which one other fifteen minutes on one other channel (with an opposing political bent). Then, ask them whether or not any statements they heard had been biased, loaded, or deliberately inflammatory and scary. Assist them to determine goal info by recognizing the angles, motives, and agendas of the present hosts. There are additionally biases associated to the publishers or retailers of the reveals. We perceive that what’s aired on Fox Information is totally different than MSNBC. That’s as a result of people inside these firms might have totally different political functions they’re making an attempt to serve. There are a number of web sites that consider the biases in particular information retailers (see one instance right here). This doesn’t imply that college students ought to utterly keep away from websites on the far left or far proper, however that they need to all the time proceed with warning.
ASSESS THE PERSON. “Reporting” entails stating the info as they’re identified, with out further commentary. “Editorializing,” alternatively, introduces evaluation and opinion into the presentation of info. There may be nothing incorrect with this – it might assist us higher perceive the context and sophisticated data. We simply must guarantee that college students perceive the distinction. To facilitate this, select a choice of clips from varied folks providing details about a controversial matter (e.g., gun management, abortion, the loss of life penalty, vaccines, immigration, drug use). Ask college students to find out whether or not the individual within the clip is reporting or editorializing, after which focus on any potential issues with the latter. You may also mix this with Exercise 6 and consider particular person messages on explicit platforms. Even biased retailers have people who merely report the info, and impartial retailers have people who may editorialize and share an excessive amount of private opinion, reasonably than stick to what’s objectively identified.
FACT-CHECK CHECKUP. Have your college students watch a ten–15-minute (or longer, relying on the coed’s age) information section. Step one is to determine claims, assertions, or statistics. Write down 3-5 of those. Subsequent, search respected web sites to see if the claims or statistics are correct. Websites reminiscent of Wikipedia could also be handy, however the data supplied there may be not all the time reliable and/or up to date. As well as, many widespread social media platforms reminiscent of Fb, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter embody warnings about posts whose content material is disputed or deceptive, however their potential to verify and confirm the accuracy of all content material posted by all customers is solely unimaginable. That is the place our personal diligence should come into play. A number of websites exist to assist expedite fact-checking, particularly for main, controversial matters. Websites reminiscent of Snopes, PolitiFact, and FactCheck.org are nice instruments to make use of earlier than forming an opinion on a topic. As well as, college students can use Google to verify the info of what’s being shared, and use Google Scholar if there are references to educational articles. Questions that college students ought to ask embody:
Are these statistics correct primarily based on respected revealed analysis?Are these claims logical and according to the proof discovered?Are these sources legitimate and dependable?
Encourage youth to determine and cross-check a number of professional, vetted sources to make sure that what was shared, posted, or reported is factual and never fictional.
FOCUS PRIMARILY ON PRIMARY SOURCES. For this exercise, you should first educate your college students what a major supply is. An instance of a major supply is a researcher who collects information and publishes the leads to an educational journal. If the journal is peer-reviewed, then different researchers have scrutinized the work and deemed it acceptable. One other instance of a major supply may be an individual who has skilled one thing for themselves. This could possibly be an emergency room physician who works on a specific kind of case day-after-day. We regularly put an excessive amount of inventory in secondary sources; that’s, the reporting of the experiences or analysis of different individuals (that is what journalists do). They could precisely convey these experiences and outcomes, however additionally they may not. And the larger distance between the first and secondary supply (“my cousin’s sister-in-law heard from their neighbor…”), the larger the chance of miscommunication or misinterpretation. After explaining the distinction to college students, have them discover 5 examples of knowledge from varied sources a couple of explicit matter. Have them first attempt to determine the first supply of the data introduced in articles articulating for or towards the subject material, after which ask themselves if they’re comfy with the supply’s credibility. Additionally, have them take into account if the individual conveying that data has a specific experience that makes them an authority on the subject being mentioned. They need to then decide if the vast majority of scientists (or subject material consultants) agree concerning the challenge. Ideally, college students will sharpen their potential to determine what data comes from secondary sources that can’t be trusted at face worth – and what they will depend on.
BEWARE OF RED FLAGS. Under are some purple flags from Advert Fontes Media that you should utilize to assist college students consider content material. These warning indicators may also help them decide when information tales are unreliable, disreputable, and embarrassing for them to share with others.
Crimson Flag 1. The story explicitly states that it’s telling the reality and/or everybody else is mendacity to you.“We all know the reality!”“What the media/authorities/companies are hiding from you”“That is undoubtedly true!”Your logic ought to let you know: In the event that they need to preface it by swearing it’s true, it’s most likely not.
Crimson Flag 2. The story incorporates quick, conclusive opinion statements.“It’s all hogwash!”“The media have all of it incorrect!”Your logic ought to let you know: Good journalists usually don’t write like this.
Crimson Flag 3. The story is organized as an inventory of questions or hypotheses.“Why wasn’t this…?”“It doesn’t add up that…”“It’s actually unlikely that X occurred.”Your logic ought to let you know: This actually is the alternative of stories, which entails solutions, not questions.
Crimson Flag 4. The story places the burden on YOU to reply the questions.“If you happen to can’t reply these questions…”“Do you REALLY know what occurred?”Your logic ought to let you know: ??? I believed you had been alleged to be the journalist right here.
Crimson Flag 5. The story asks you to show a destructive, which is usually unimaginable.“Nobody has proved that the federal government WASN’T concerned!”“They SAY it was X, however how are you aware it wasn’t Y?”Your logic ought to let you know: Professional tip—don’t do this argument in court docket.
Crimson Flag 6. The story suggests an insidious plot by somebody (“the media,” “elites,” “companies,” “the federal government”) however doesn’t say precisely what the plot IS or present any proof for it.“Nobody is aware of how deep this goes…”“There’s no telling who’s behind all of this…”Your logic ought to let you know: Cool story, bro!
See in case your college students can discover examples of those purple flags on widespread web sites or social media platforms. For youthful college students, chances are you’ll must ship them to explicit pages with extra apparent examples. For older college students, allow them to attempt to discover examples on their very own.
Quotation data: Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J.W. (2022). Selling Media Literacy: Ten Actions to Assist College students Create, Consider, and Analyze Content material. Cyberbullying Analysis Heart. Retrieved (insert date), from https://cyberbullying.org/media-literacy-activities.pdf
Key phrases: media literacy; prevention; educators; actions
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