Media literacy complements Digital Literacy and eSafety knowledge – and all three are required for successful and safe participation in a digital world. Digital literacy focuses on the skills and knowledge required to access and use digital technologies. eSafety focuses on issues like online hate and abuse, bullying, the protection of personal information and online scams.
Media Literacy encourages people to ask critical questions about the media using a set of six concepts. For any example of media (an advertisement, a news story, a film or television program, a YouTube video, video game or a social media post), we can ask the following questions:
Institutions: who made this media and why did they make it?
Audiences: who was this media made for and how are they likely to respond to it?
Representations: how are people, places or ideas portrayed in this media, and what are the impacts of this?
Technologies: what technology was used to produce, access and circulate this media? Does the technology gather personal data from users?
Languages: how does this media communicate using image, sounds and written text?
Relationships: what kind of relationships are being developed through the distribution and use of this media?
These questions will have very different answers, depending on the media example, but the process of asking and answering these questions leads to critical understandings, and forms the basis for more successful media experiences. These questions can be asked during the process of consuming, sharing or creating media. They can be integrated as part of any Digital Literacy and eSafety learning program.