Without Media Literacy

President Obama said it all when he told the graduating students of Hampton University, “You’re coming of age in a 24-7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don’t always rank that high on the truth meter.”  But how can we tell what’s truth, what’s credible, what’s accurate?

The answer? Through media literacy.

In a world with rapid advancing media, new technologies, and emerging ways to consume media, the concept of media literacy is arguably one of the most important concepts to today’s citizens. This blog has adopted the NAMLE (National Association of Media Literacy Education) definition of media literacy, “media literacy is seen to consist of a series of communication competencies, including the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and communicate information in a variety of forms, including print and non-print messages.” (Please visit www.namle.net for more information).

But why is media literacy so important? What are the consequences of the media illiterate? This portion of the blog attempts to answer that question.

According to author of The Theory of Media Literacy, James W. Potter, we cannot physically ignore the amount of information the media is throwing at us, so we must learn to automatically process it. Should we fall short in our processing? “We risk misperceiving the real world and misinterpreting its true nature.”  Basically without media literacy, we are more vulnerable to the media; letting it decide our values and attitudes.

The Without Media Literacy section of the blog will highlight just some of the consequences that can come from not educating ourselves and our children how to access, analyze, evaluate, and communicate information within the media.  Studies have found links between media literacy and violence, smoking, alcohol use, and eating disorders, just to list a few. This blog will visit some of the consequences, and seek to encourage you and yours to maintain and increase your media literacy.

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