All this has changed our way of life. We get information mainly via the Internet. Whether we like it or not, everything we listen to or read affects our behaviour, decisions, worldview and preferences, particularly affecting school-age children and teenagers. They should have adequate knowledge and think critically in order to be able to properly navigate the media/Internet.

Stimulates critical thinking

Media literacy helps students to become wiser users of the media, and teaches them to act more responsibly on social media. Media literacy classes help to stimulate critical thinking in students. Nowadays, children can easily access sensitive and unreliable materials on the Internet, and very often distorted facts. Usually, the main purpose of such posts and content, that have unusual headlines, is to attract an audience, i.e. to increase the views and likes, resulting in more advertising and more money.

Therefore, it is crucial to raise awareness on media literacy in students because they spend a lot of time on the Internet. Students should know that what we read, listen to and see in the media is not always reliable and real. Often, we come across false information on the Internet, so it is key for students to become more critical of information the find on social media, while simultaneously using fact-checking tools.

How does a proper media literacy program look like?

A proper media literacy program starts with teaching students how to ask the correct questions and how to factcheck information, experts say. Towards the end of high school, they should already know how to check the reliability of news they see on the Internet.

The principal value of proper education on media literacy is students being able to access, analyze, assess, create and act, using all forms of communication.

It is also crucial for students to learn what quality journalism and proper media ethics look like. This helps them to avoid becoming victims of information shared by people who have not been trained as journalists, or do not follow the ethical standards.