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Why is media literacy important?

Posted by: | October 13, 2010 | No Comment |

We know why it is important to be literate. People who know how to read can learn about the world. They understand that the marks on the paper have meaning.

What is media literacy? We don’t need to know how to read to be able to watch television. Going online requires reading. Is that all media literacy is?

Media literacy is more than reading, it is more than watching news on television, it is more than getting information from websites. Media literacy is asking questions about what you are watching. It is wondering who wrote this particular blog and why.

We want to be intelligent and independent people. When we are not literate or media literate, we are likely to be manipulated into voting in ways we may not have voted or saying things that are not true because we have not bothered to check the source.

How do we become more media literate?

1.   Limit what we watch

2.   Find out whose opinions are being aired

3.   Find out why that person would want others to share in that opinion

4.   Ask questions, why is that picture there and not another?

5.   Find out what the opposing opinion is

Media literacy is less about passively taking in information and more about asking questions. It requires that we become detectives searching for the truth. The more sides to the story we know, the more we will know about the world and the more literate we will be.

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