Kosovo has the youngest population in Europe and the use of new media is high precisely amongst the youth. Therefore, it is important to ensure that young people are prepared as much as possible for the use of such media, as well as for a critical understanding and approach towards media content. If every young person has to pass the driving test to get a license, then we have to create a similar “test” for media literacy. The idea of protecting or shielding oneself from the media seems to be wrong, but what isn’t, is a fact that our society simply needs to learn how to use such media properly. Even driving a car has its risks, from minor accidents to fatal ones. However, this does not mean that driving should be given up at once. Even more so, with the use of media, and despite the dangers that exist today in the world of Internet, younger audiences should be enabled to use it in ways protecting them from experiencing the so-called “technological accidents”. So, our society, just like when it is seeking courses for properly driving a car, should also be just as obviously, educated about the use of media. This can be best achieved by including media literacy in pre-university curricula, as well as by organizing ongoing trainings for those who are not part of formal education in our respective countries.

The reality shows us every day that it is difficult to be satisfied with only standard information being in circulation, communication, etc. Attempts to use artificial intelligence by some social media have not been effective enough, because people who disseminate misinformation have increasingly found new ways to convey their “message” to the public, or even deceiving artificial intelligence. Although Facebook or other social media giants have created a framework, which identifies misinformation about certain topics, such as recent misinformation about the COVID vaccine, artificial intelligence cannot detect memes, which are also a form of frequent dissemination of misinformation. This shows that reliance on artificial intelligence alone is not enough, so it is crucial to train everyone in accessing, using, and analyzing media content and information. Globally, Facebook has already taken several steps, including the creation of the “Digital Education Library”.

It is the last call and it’s about time for the citizens to finally be able to distinguish the information that they receive on social media. However, in the first place, this requires swift action and concrete reaction of institutions such as the Ministry of Education, being a leading institution in the field. Promoting media literacy should be based on a comprehensive, institutional strategy, which takes into account all the necessary preconditions, as well as the characteristics of different age groups, because this issue necessarily requires being treated with relevant focus, depending on whether it is on children, youths, adults or the elderly people. In this regard, these and other challenges are presented in a text published more than a year ago. They remain the same today, because sadly, there is still no fundamental development or change, whether in the curricula, in preparing teachers for media literacy, or in creation of the digital library, as part of non-formal education.

Background illustration: Photo by Christian Schwier from Adobe Stock / Adobe Stock license