Media literacy education will guide parents as well as educators how to make use of mediated communication fruitfully.
If I were to flip the pages of history and look back to the early stages of communication, I would certainly be reminded of how interaction with one another was done in the past. “Face-to-face” communication was a valued from of social exchange then. In the business world, for instance barter and trade. Whereas the “aetas” (aborigines) of our country would exchange salt for matches, people of the West would trade in silk for the spices of the East.
In other words, there was an actual process of “physical exchange” of goods but not until such time when civilization/ culture grow. From then on, the medium of communication had gradually become “symbolic.” Like, we have now (to mention a few) credit, debit or check cards, gift certificates and phone cards to “represent” monetary value, and the goods could easily be delivered right at one’s doorstep while this is done by a simple ‘click’ of a mouse “mouse”.
Indeed, times have changed, and so did human communication and interaction with peoples. We are now experiencing, so to say, a dramatic movement from the ‘face-to-face’ to a “mediated communication”. What of the wonders and speed of telecommunication, fax machines, e-mails and the potentials of the new converging communication technologies (mass media + telematics) – where loads of information come to us at the flip of a channel or surfing through the net.
It is true, we re not doing away completely with the face-toface communication, but, if we come to think of it, the experience of “mediated communication” is now becoming more dominant and more influential in the shaping of people’s lives, values, lifestyles, and even of their religious beliefs. This is especially true for the youth-who are more “immersed” in the media than older ones are. Take the average urban child of a low-income family in our country, for example, whose direct media exposure is three hours per day on the average compared to the amount of time parents spend ‘communicating’ with the child.
With this, I mean, ‘quality communication’ which goes beyond “sermonizing”… nagging. Thus, causing communication gap to grow wider and wider everyday. If this becomes the ordinary fare of our children today – chances are, they would find their “surrogate” parents/teachers (movie idols, favorite pop singers, TV personalities, etc.) more credible to shape their values and consciousness – NOT that I consider them as “passive” media consumers, but because of the “relativity” of media impact and influence on their lives.
This is so, not only for the kids, but even for some adults, too. Hence, I gather that there is an urgent need to be more conscious and critically aware of these socializing agents. There is the need to be aware of the possibility that media could mean two things:
M-eriless OR M-eans of
D-istorting an which
A-ttitude I-nformation for
I personally think that we need to be “media conscious” and start questioning NOT ONLY what these various forms of media are “doing to us” – but question as well “what we and our children are doing to the media” as forms of “enter” and “info”-tainment.
On top of all this-is need for “Media Literacy Education” and “media educators” who can help in the holistic formation of our media generation today-our “media babies”.