Why is digital media and media literacy so important? The songs young people listen to, their style of dress, and the way they interact with and treat each other (including bullying), their sexual activity or lack of, drug and alcohol abuse, teen dating violence. Self-esteem is a fundamental, root factor that affects these issues that plague teenagers. Digital media interests them (online access to music, video, and social media) and their level of media literacy affects the way they learn.
Most teen and pre-teen students are media-savvy, but most are not media literate. Media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and create media in a variety of forms. Media literacy raises students’ awareness and teaches them critical thinking so they can be more proactive in understanding and interpreting the media messages they receive.
Several factors* comprise media literacy, including:
- an awareness of personal media habits
- an understanding of how the media work
- an appreciation of media’s power/influence
- the ability to discern, critically question
- an understanding of how meaning is created in media texts
- the ability to create and produce media
* Baker, F. Media Literacy in the K-12 Classroom (ISTE, 2012)