Thursday, October 2, 2008

Media Literacy, the forgotten skill.

Reading and writing are known basic skills to our society at this time, and I believe that there is a skill equally as important that can sometimes go unnoticed – Media Literacy. It almost does not make sense to be able to read and write and not be able to understand what it means, or how it means.
Personally, I don’t know how I would be able to function if I did not have the ability to be media literate. It’s almost like being given the gift to think for yourself. To me, it is a skill which makes me feel like I am a real person in society, one who is up to date on international happenings, politics, and many other occurrences. Becoming media literate is like ending that gullible stage everyone has when they are really young. Instead of believing only what I was told by peers or parents, I now have the ability to create my own arguments and opinions, to recognize bias and stereotypes in society and the best part is, I am able to distinguish fact from opinion. Being media literate allows people to take the world however they want to, not by what everyone else thinks. For example, if someone who were not media literate were to watch a commercial that said if they did not buy these pants they would not be cool. This person may actually go out and purchase these ‘cool’ pants because they have not been taught the language of media to decipher these messages on their own. However, if they knew how to identify this as not fact, and realize that these ‘cool’ pant makers are not reliable in judging what is cool or not, then they would have a good laugh at the commercial, save their money and move on.
This is a skill which helps people become active members of society, and should be taught in school at a young age how to identify fact from fiction, bias and how to judge the reliability of information. All are very important to becoming a well rounded individual who will not get eaten alive in the big bad world.

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