The Center for Media Literacy defines Media Literacy as a: “21st century approach to education. It provides a framework to access, analyze, evaluate and create messages in a variety of forms—from print to video to the Internet. Media literacy builds an understanding of the role of media in society as well as essential skills of inquiry and self-expression necessary for citizens of a democracy.” As a nation, we are beginning to realize that more and more Americans are getting their information from television, as opposed to books and newspapers. According to a Kaiser Foundation study, today’s youth spend the equivalent of a full-time workweek using media each week. As a result, it is imperative that our youth recognize how media influence and manipulate. They must utilize critical thinking about the messages in media and uncover subliminal information, and the exploration of values. They should possess the ability to interpret media accurately, thereby avoiding any potential damage to their self-esteem. This can be accomplished through media education.
Five Key Questions of Media Literacy
When teaching media literacy, expose the students to the Five Key Questions of Media Literacy. These questions assist students in mastering the skill of understanding the nature of communications, particularly in regard to telecommunications and mass media. They will gain knowledge of the structural attributes of the media, and most importantly, how these attributes might influence the content of the media.
- Who created this message?
- What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?
- How might different people understand this message differently than me?
- What values, lifestyles and points of view are represented in, or omitted from, this message?
- What is the message being sent?