What Is Media Education?

Since kids have had access to technical achievements such as the Internet, educators have been asking themselves the question: How can kids be trained to use new media and how can the use of these technologies be designed to protect minors?

The term media literacy or media education was born and with it various concepts on how to educate young people to use the Internet, PCs, and the like responsibly. Today we are asking ourselves whether media competence can do much more than that. What else is behind it and why should both parents and teachers be interested in teaching media literacy?

The New Cultural Technique

A cultural technique is a specific approach to mastering cultural or technical problems. These include: Ensuring food and shelter, caring for the human body and keeping it healthy, and managing the land. All of these are included in the repertoire of cultural techniques that are passed down from generation to generation. In the school sense, the essential cultural techniques are reading, arithmetic, and writing.

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With the advance of digitization, we are facing new problems that people were not confronted with just a few decades ago. In the meantime, we have also developed concepts for dealing with information technology, which we pass on to the youngest.
Media literacy is therefore also described as a new cultural technique that enables young people to master the world of technology. This makes it an essential part of the modern educational mission, even in elementary school.

Equal Opportunities For All

While a larger part of the world’s population does not have access to modern media, we take it for granted. Anyone who has access to the latest advances in technology thus possesses a certain amount of power. Everyone should therefore have the necessary media skills to take advantage of existing communication technologies – regardless of their health status, social background, gender, or place of residence.
It is therefore desirable that children at less well-established schools also have access to high-quality educational offerings in the area of media literacy. In this respect, they should neither go through life awkwardly nor be socially disadvantaged or even excluded. For young people, media literacy also means better chances of finding a good job.

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Protect Yourself!

People who do not have sufficient media competence are not only disadvantaged in social life. They are inferior to other people in that they can quite easily become victims of criminal activities, for example on the Internet.

That is why it is the right of every person to be given the opportunity to deal with the following focal points:

  • Scope of personal rights.
  • Basics of copyright and the right to one’s own image.
  • Protective measures against problematic content.
  • Consumer protection in Internet transactions.
  • Correct behavior in the event of fraud.
  • Measures to protect privacy and personal data.
  • Education about the basic functioning of information technology.
  • Portals such as Elternkompass.de have made it their business to make this information freely accessible to.
  • Parents and kids and to discuss it. In this way, media competence is independent of the educational path taken by the individual and is available to everyone.
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Knowledge Is Freedom

Those who understand the basics of social values and democratic structures have an advantage when it comes to protecting their own freedom. That is why it is a fundamental right to be informed about politics in one’s own country.

This area is also part of media literacy. And this is because young people should be able to critically question political media content. In addition, media competence means being able to express one’s own opinion about it by making use of the media.

By participating in social processes, media literacy in this context promotes equal opportunities as well as networking and information for the population.

Photo: Scanrail / bigstockphoto.com

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