Fez - Media literacy is a new wave in the field of education and has a critical role in promoting students’ awareness of the impacts of various forms of media. The media literacy curriculum provides a means of making students conscious of the messages that multimedia tries to transmit to various audiences, and the purpose behind those messages of having an effect on the audience and changing its way of thinking and experiencing the world.
Fez – Media literacy is a new wave in the field of education and has a critical role in promoting students’ awareness of the impacts of various forms of media. The media literacy curriculum provides a means of making students conscious of the messages that multimedia tries to transmit to various audiences, and the purpose behind those messages of having an effect on the audience and changing its way of thinking and experiencing the world.
A number of psychological, sociological, educational, and anthropological studies have been conducted concerning the dangerous impacts of media messages on people’s behaviors, especially on children. These studies conclude that the way kids behave is a reflection of media in which they are involved, such as video games, social networks, internet searches, etc.
Because media is everywhere and unavoidable, and as a practical matter children cannot be prevented from having access to it, media literacy is touted as the primary solution to reduce the negative influence of media on its users. However, there is nothing called media literacy in the educational curriculum or syllabi in Morocco, particularly in schools. Hence, most students are media illiterate and are unlikely to be able to understand and analyze media messages, and as a consequence, they may be immensely affected by what they see and hear.
The inclusion of media literacy in the educational curriculum in Morocco is necessary, especially with the rapid advancement in technology. Moroccan children need information and knowledge about different types of media because media is everywhere — at home, at school, in the street — and it is inevitable that kids will come into contact with it.
Parents, educators, and civil society should take serious steps to protect kids from the dangers of media messages which threaten their future careers and personal development. School is an appropriate place to begin teaching media literacy in order to instill critical thinking. Introducing media literacy skills into the educational setting, children can be exposed to both the positive and negative effects of media, and hence develop consciousness about media and an ability not to be influenced by being able to ask basic questions about media:
1-What is the content or the message that media wants to convey?
2-Who are media producers and owners? This helps students to know the ideologies and political orientations of media owners.
3-Why do we use media? For what purposes do we use it? Is it for entertainment or for education and information? Or for both?
4-When do we use it? How to devote an appropriate and circumscribed time for using media? And not using it whenever we feel like it
Not incorporating media literacy into the everyday educational curriculum is costly. Students exposed to media without being equipped with the tools to analyze it may be much more likely to imitate it or to develop negative habits that they see portrayed there, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, using drugs, etc. According to some studies mentioned in The World bank brochure (CommGAP, 2002), conducted in USA, 80% of network programs contained violent content and as many as of 60% were involved. Researchers have identified catharsis, arousal, disinhibition, imitation and desensitization as possible outcomes (Bryant and Thompson, 2002).
In a nutshell, Media illiteracy may be one of the causal factors in violent behavior among students. As it is indicated in the above study, media contains an amalgam of aggressive contents which affect negatively people’s ways of thinking and behaving. Thus, it is time that courses on media literacy should be incorporated into the Moroccan educational system as regular classes, and not just as annual awareness campaigns at individual schools.
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