Media Literacy is an extended form of concept that involves the ability to approach, obtain and use message e.g often from the media, as well as to make the right action, using the control of information and communication to create a change in the world.
This is why we will be diving to the critical concept of media literacy. They include:
Media Interprets Reality
The media represents fractions of real observation and experiences from which we build up our personal understandings of the world and how it works. Our perspective of reality is based on media messages, e.g. movies, news, that have already been modelled and have attitudes, interpretations, and conclusions built in. The media gives us our sense of reality.
The Media Constructed Versions of Reality
The media carefully presents crafted constructions which reflect numerous decisions, resulting in many determining factors. E.g. A 30-second video clip you absorb on the T.V is edited, captured, and presented by a team of people. Therefore, throughout this process, ‘reality’ may or may not be biased. A bias of a creator might be a photographer’s decision to omit some elements from a photo, or to photograph it from a high or low angle.
People’s Interpretation of Media is different
The media provides us with much material upon which we build our perspective of reality, each of us negotiate meanings according to diverse factors, such as; age, race,life experiences, gender, education, values, beliefs, upbringing, religion, personal needs, family, cultural background, etc. Because each member of the audience is unique, the way you interpret media messages might not be how someone else will.
Media Messages Contains Value
Media messages inevitably communicate value messages which extend into the lives of their audiences, and the audiences need to be able to recognize and assess these value messages. Through the media, immigrants, natives, male, females, etc. have all sought opportunities for self-expression of their values through media texts and communities.
Media Messages Have Economic Implications
Media literacy aims to encourage awareness of how the media are influenced by commercial factors, and their effects on content, technique and distribution. It is important to note that while media texts are produced by a profit-making industry, many more are produced just for the pleasure of making and sharing them with a small community.
Diverse People Today Can Create Media
The digital age provides you with all the tools and resources to create media, enabling you to influence mass audience, and leverage prospects for consumer purposes. E.g. Justin Bieber launched his music career by posting home videos on YouTube. The same goes for TikTok ,Instagram, and any other social media apps, anyone can have a wide variety of audience by posting videos from the comfort of their surroundings, utilizing the power of media.
Media has a unique aesthetic form
It’s quite easier to consider aesthetics in media forms or texts that are purposefully entertaining or artistic, such as; movies, TV shows, art show displays. It is however important to enable students/children understand and appreciate the aesthetics that might occur in news reports, blogs, podcasts, and advertisements. Just as we notice and embrace the pleasing rhythms and flow of different pieces of poetry or prose, we also ought to be able to enjoy the pleasing forms and effects of the different media.
A reasonable percentage of people possess the feature of been a media literate, most times they abuse it and thereby give us wring information which have a psychological effects to our readers. But before we emphasis on the effect of wrong information, it is important for us to note the meaning of the concept,” Media Education “.
Media literacy is a talent that everyone should have in the 21st century because of the vast media contents that are being broadcast via news media, television, and social platforms.
It has recently been found that people spend more time than usual using the media, consuming a variety of messages and contents. As a result, it is crucial to know how to evaluate the media messages we regularly consume to avoid being influenced by false information. Wrong information has a significant psychological impact and can have an impact on public opinion or critical thinking. But first, let’s define media literacy before we discuss how psychologically damaging false information may be.
WHAT IS MEDIA EDUCATION?
Media literacy is the capacity to use the power of knowledge and communication to change the world by being able to access, assess, and produce media messages. Media literacy is the capacity to develop into a critical media consumer, to put it simply.
Not all media messages should be accepted wholeheartedly; media literacy is the capacity to recognize the message’s meaning, its bias, and the underlying emotions it transmits.
THE VALUE OF MEDIA EDUCATION
As a result of the fact that we spend more time ingesting media messages than engaging with our surroundings, media literacy is crucial for sifting through inaccurate and biased information. Media literacy is significant in the following ways:
Understanding how media messages influence our culture and society is useful.
Media literacy aids in understanding the intention of the creators, what they want viewers to think or do, as well as what they hope to accomplish with their message.
Knowledge of the media improves analytical abilities.
- Understanding media bias, incorrect information, and spin can be helpful.
- Media literacy aids in forming our own message from that which is communicated through the media.
- It aids in the discovery of untold and obscure stories.
REASONS FOR THE INACCURATE INFORMATION.
Recently, false information has been disseminated widely, especially on social media platforms where it is quick and easy to do so. People are deceived by false messages in the media because they take what they hear at its value. Other elements that contribute to inaccurate information include:
- Misinterpretation of facts
- Emotional manipulation
- Use of wrong language
- Personal views and beliefs
- Religious Ideology
- Political interest
All these factors contribute to wrong information which affects us psychologically.
PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF WRONG MEDIA INFORMATION.
The media is important to society. It is in charge of enlightening individuals on many topics and concerns that affect society as a whole. However, how well it is investigated and reviewed by editors before publishing determines how accurate the information provided in the media is.
In the absence of checks and balances, chaos reigns and inaccurate information is frequently spread. The wrong information given in the media about any topic can have an adverse effect on people’s lives. The adverse effects can leads to multiple problems:
- Social ills like depression, anxiety and stress which can cause physical symptoms such as headaches and stomachaches; insomnia; confusion; depression; grief and loss of interest in normal activities; increased anger and aggression towards others; increased risk-taking behavior; and thoughts of suicide.
- Wrong information can lead people to make poor decisions based on misinformation which could negatively affect their lives as well as those around them who rely on them for guidance.
- The wrong media information can cause people to have an unreal experience.
- Wrong media information can impose low self esteem and self inadequacy.
- Wrong media information can lead to chaotic situations and unrest.
- Wrong media information can cause fear of missing out leading to people taking actions that can cost them losing something precious
- Wrong media message makes it hard for people to see the truth
- Fake media messages can reduce cognitive actions of the brain. People who tend to easily believe fake news have low I.Q and reduced critical thinking ability.
Media literacy is a critical aspect of human development, especially in today’s world where people have access to information 24/7. It is important for everyone in our society to understand how media can influence their lives as well as how it can be used for good purposes.
Who needs media literacy?
Everyone, students. kids, entrepreneurs, adults, need to be media literate because media and information have increasingly become part of our way of life. Hence, accurate understanding and use of it will make us more productive and of benefit to the society.
What are the ideas of introducing media literacy in school, homes, offices e.t.c?
Media Literacy is typically defined as the abilty to access, analyze, evaluate, and produce communication in a variety of forms.
In order for students to develop the analytical and technical skills they need to be fully literate in the 21st century sense, media analysis and media production should be continuosly reinforced from kindergarten through high school (and beyond) in many different subject areas. The purpose of media literacy education is to help individuals of all ages develop the habits of inquiry and skills of expression that they need to be critical thinkers, effective comminicators and active citizens in today’s world.
The following are ways on how to introduce media literacy into schools;
- Stimulate interest in a new topic: i) presenting an exciting video clip, playing a popular song, or reading a short poem or story (fiction or nonfiction) that relates to the topic,
- ii) grouping students to work, to read, analyze, and discuss a controversial magazine, newspaper, or online article about the topic. teaching students how to search for information about the topic on the Internet and compare results from different search engines.
- Identify how students’ prior ideas about a topic have been influenced by media messages: Most times our ideas about things may differ depending on the different media platforms we are exposed to.
– Give examples about what students might already believe about a topic and thereby discussing how accurate the beliefs are.
– Drawing links between the way a topic is typically treated academically and how it might appear in popular media (e.g., “poetry” in song lyrics or advertising jingles; mathematical graphs or charts used in political polls or news reports).
– Clarifying the way that specific terminology related to the topic might be used differently in an academic sense than it might be in the popular culture.
- Use media as a standard pedagogical tool by; designing assignments that require students to use more than one type of media source, providing information about the topic through a variety of media sources(print media, instructional videos, websites).
- Identifying sources for erroneous beliefs about a topic by analyzing media content that misrepresents a topic or presents false or misleading information about a topic.
- Facilitate use of a range of media formats to express students’ opinions and illustrate their understanding of the world by encouraging students to analyze media messages on issues of particular interest to them (e.g., messages about sex and gender or popularity, messages promoting harmful behaviors, race and age distortions in the “media world” compared with the real world, messages about how media effect them, and/or advertising targeted to people their age).
- Connect students to the community and work toward positive change by finding collaborative possibilities for projects with community institutions (e.g., museums, libraries, galleries) that involve students analyzing or creating media messages
How can media be accessed?
Media literacy is a fundamental part of a nation’s development hence access is made available through academic curriculums, public libraries, media sources. Children mostly access theirs through electronic gadgets from their parents
Adopting the above ideas will simply be a burden off our shoulders. If we are informed we will not be deformed. It is expedient for the ideas to be properly practiced and work on for the development and growth of our nation, Nigeria.