Why kids need to be ‘media literate’

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MANILA, June 6, 2014 – 24/7 wifi access, tablets and mobile browsing spell endless connectivity, but is that always a good thing for kids? A group doesn’t think so and advocates parents, teachers and formators’ proper guidance of young people towards smart media consumption.

Millennials, those born from 1981 to 1996, are the most media-saturated generation by far. (Photo: CBCP News)

“What parent can do is guide the child,” said Paulines Institute of Communication in Asia (PICA) Directress Sr. Ma. Consolata Manding, FSP, PhD. “That’s where media literacy, which is very relevant today, comes in.”

Media literacy helps people whose job is in line with formation like teachers, priests, nuns, and laypeople to distinguish “the good from the bad”, she said, noting that even adults need special training to be truly media smart.

With the growing influence of media as a result of the broadening reach of radio, print, TV, cinema, mobile phone, especially, the internet, Manding said there is a need to protect the young from the moral threats posed by the increasing exposure to “corrupt media.”

Today’s young people spend much of their time on their mobile phones, TV, and the internet, particularly social networks, unconscious that they are wide open to less than desirable influences.

The young have come to a point where living without the computer, TV, and mobile phone seems impossible, the religious school head said. And parents cannot simply tell them “to stop.”

Despite media’s being indispensible to modern living, its excessive use can hamper children’s proper development, Manding said.

According to her, it is common to observe a child staring closely at his teacher as if “closely listening to the lecture”, but actually what occupies his mind is the telenovela that kept him awake late last night. (Oliver Samson)

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