Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Image Courtesy of Toronto Star Archives.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Your child begins the day watching and repeating everything he hears on TV. Yesterday, he discovered a show about royalty. The show resonates with him and convinces him that being a king is the best, that he's the greatest king ever and that dragons are terrible! For the next 24 hours, he repeats this enough that you're beginning to believe that he may have been a king in a past-life. As a strong proponent of supporting your child's make-believe skills, you play along and encourage his creativity.
The next day, your child is flipping through the channels and discovers a show where someone is loudly repeating conspiracy theories. Your child repeats what he has heard. Concerned that your child has yet to build the media literacy skills to analyze statements and distinguish between fact and fiction, you wonder what to do.
Repetition is a powerful tool as it helps individuals recall statements that were made. Repetition becomes problematic when the information being conveyed is untrue. While repetition helps you remember, if the statement is incorrect and you share it with others, the misinformation is amplified. Remind your child that just because someone says something repeatedly, loudly and confidently that does not automatically make it true.
What is Media Education and Media Literacy?
Media Smarts states that "To be engaged and critical media consumers, kids need to develop skills and habits of media literacy. These skills include being able to access media on a basic level, to analyze it in a critical way based on certain key concepts, to evaluate it based on that analysis and, finally, to produce media oneself."
Being Media Saavy.
It's never too early for media education and literacy! It's important that kids are prepared to examine and evaluate statements. Here are just a couple of things you can share with your child:
- Remind your child that the first result in a search does not necessarily contain accurate information. Anyone can post anything on the internet.
- Discuss: Ask your child how they would verify information. Why?
- Inform your child that some sources may have a bias and motive.
- Discuss: Ask your child why they think some sources may seek to influence opinions or sway your decisions.
- Consider the qualifications of the source and if their past work is reliable or not. Are the statements based on facts or conjecture?
- Discuss: Ask your child if they would trust getting medical advice from their trained and educated family doctor or a random person on the street peddling free advice. Why?
Here are some resources about media literacy to continue the discussion with your child:
The Berenstain Bears and the Trouble with Commercials by Stan and Jan Berenstain (Ages: 3+)
Half-Truths and Brazen Lies: An Honest Look at Lying by Kira Vermond (Ages: 10+)
Media Literacy. Thinking Critically About Television by Peyton Paxson (Ages: 10+)
Media Literacy by James W. Potter (Ages: 13+)