With the distance education, the time spent in front of the screen increased. As such, it became even more difficult to control children’s viewing of various content in the media environment. Although the news that adults watch or listen to reflect the truth, experts say that they will affect children differently. In addition, the children attach great importance to the news they hear from their friends. Although the adults around the children behave carefully, children can be exposed to a variety of content, albeit unintentionally. So, how can we teach them to distinguish the right news when they appear in front of the screen on their own?
In today’s world where conspiracy theories, fake news and false information circulate in the endless content universe, children need to be equipped to behave selectively. With every new development in the world, a climate of anxiety occurs. Pandemic the biggest example of this. Although it is not possible to keep children away from the realities of life, it is necessary to teach them to filter the news they hear in a critical way. Especially in primary education and adolescence, when peer interaction increases, news from friends comes to the fore instead of adults. At this point “Media Literacy” becomes important.
Media literacy, “To gain the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and convey messages in various formats, written and non-written” It is defined as. It stands out as a new life skill that needs to be improved. According to the “Brussels Declaration on Lifelong Media Literacy” created in 2010 Media Literacy trainingaims to give individuals control power. In the development of the child it affects the cognitive, emotional, aesthetic and values domain.
• Questioning superficial meaning and implicit intention in the cognitive field
• To act with logic by distinguishing between fantasy and reality in the emotional field
• To be able to see the strengths and weaknesses of media messages in the aesthetic field
• In the field of values, there is the ability to read the underlying values of the message.
Mothers and fathers are role models!
Children need a critical and holistic perspective to see implicit values. According to Vivian Maria Vasquez, professor of education in England, it is important for children to learn how texts and pictures convey messages. Thus, it becomes possible for them to make informed decisions about what to believe and what not to believe. So how can parents raise informed and responsible digital citizens? Maggie McGuire, CEO of the child-focused streaming service Pinna, and other experts share their advice below.
Start from the basics
You can teach your child the difference between reality and fantasy through images posted on YouTube or on TV. You can also explain that the people in the advertisements are actors who play a role and say that their purpose is to promote products. By looking at these advertisements, you can indicate that you decide, sometimes you prefer to buy the product and sometimes not. Thus, you prevent them from internalizing the message given in the advertisement as a necessity.
Conversations with your child are the first step towards realizing that not all elements of the media are always an accurate reflection of reality. This makes it easier for people to learn that they are trying to convey certain points of view through commercials, news, movies, and more. You can also tell your child how the advertisements are made. Obtaining this kind of information can also help children understand that social media is not a depiction of reality.
Tell them to think before clicking and sharing
It should be emphasized that emotions play a very important role in clicking. It changes a lot for the kids to stop before they click, breathe and think why that headgear is causing a strong, excited reaction at that moment. They need to learn to think about whether the headline they encounter is playing with their emotions like fear, anger, and hope. Author Robin Terry Brown “Probably the number one thing parents can teach their kids is to stop and think before they click.” says. Studies show that people are more likely to click on a title or share a post if it makes them feel happy, angry or excited. Young people stand out as the closest to the click trap.
Author Brown hints: “Look for signs of misinformation. Do you see a shocking headline or picture? Does the speaker use wild expressions without any facts to support him? These are clear signs of misinformation. Because the headlines can be deceiving, the children must have the article or remember to read the entire post. “
Chat about reliable news
As your child grows up, you can have conversations with him about the news and videos he has seen. You can search the information sources of the news together with your child over the age of 11 and make quotes from people who look at the subject from different angles. You can also examine whether the organizations providing the reports are unilateral or not. Thus, you provide the infrastructure for accessing quality information resources. Similarly, when shopping for products, teach them to compare what is promised in the ad and what actually happens.
As a parent, it is important to be a role model. Be interested in finding real news and information. Be an example by following quality news sources. “You can’t trust anything you read anymore!” Says trainer Jeffrey Knutson. we don’t say things like. It is very important that we show them that the facts are available and that quality, reliable information is available. “
Encourage critical thinking
Media literacy and critical thinking go hand in hand. Therefore, parents must develop these important analytical skills in their daily lives. One of the best places to start is with a child’s questioning questions, passions, and interests. In other words, work with media texts that they are interested in exploring and discussing. Talk about how what they watch, read and hear on social media or TV makes them feel. Talk about times when they thought it was true, but later realized it was wrong. Then you can go beyond that and actively research together to find the media that suits them rather than being a passive buyer. This is also beneficial for them to be smart consumers.
Consume the media with them While reading a book to your child, thinking and commenting on the book together is a familiar parenting task. There should be the same kinds of things in other types of media and especially in digital forms. After giving your child a tablet, instead of going away immediately, it would be useful to watch him play and to tell you what happened in the game after the game is over. Similarly, after watching the news summary with him, you can talk to him about what he thinks about the news.
You can ask your child the following questions:
What is the message of this?
How do images and words work to convey this message?
Who created this message and what is their agenda?
How do I know this is real?
What techniques does this message use to get my attention?
How can people who are different from me interpret this message?
What perspectives, values or lifestyles are represented – or missing?
Are there any persons or groups that could be harmed or harmed by this text?
Who can benefit from this text and how?
“Media greatly influences the way we think and make decisions. Media literacy develops the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and produce in a variety of ways,” Maggie McGuire, CEO of Pinna, a child-focused broadcast service, told HuffPost Newspaper. and helps children learn what is trustworthy and understand the difference between reality and fiction, ”he says.“ Media literacy helps children become wise consumers of the media, develop critical thinking skills, and express and disseminate their opinions clearly based on evidence and facts. Media literacy is crucial to developing civic skills that lead children to know how to participate in a healthy and fair public debate and how to participate in a democracy as they grow up. “
References: C.Bologna. “Parents teach kids media literacy”. (2020) Retrieved from: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/parents-teach-kids-media-literacy_l_5fab43e3c5b6ed84597c3fc4