Media literacy vs. screen time
When it comes to digital media and youth, the debate in Finland is often a bit narrow. We discuss about how much “screentime” is healthy for children and if videogames makes youngsters violent and introvert.
What we don’t talk as much about is the fact that “screentime” is absolutely necessary to fight injustice and to uphold democracy. My strongest impressions from the Digital Youth seminar in Belgium is that we should be extremely thankful for the digital knowledge and awareness that we have and definitely not take it for granted.
We got told a lot about how to work towards media literacy in different ways in Belgium. Projects that aimed to let kids play with iPads, make their own music videos and much more. One project that I particularly liked was the aim to teach kids in primary school the benefits of a social network, a skill that isn’t even obvious for the youngsters in Finland who are deserting Facebook because it’s not cool enough, unable to see that at the moment it is an important part of our social infrastructure.
The most memorable meetings of this week was for me to meet the participants from Romania. Part from just being lovely they also showed us privileged Finnish people that media literacy is not something you can take for granted and that it is worth fighting for. Romania is fighting internal corruption and injustice and one of the most important weapons is digital and social media. If the kids & youngsters learn to use the new media they get empowered and can’t be ignored. Injustice is best fought by bringing it to the light, and social media is very good at doing that. I wish my new Romanian friends all the best in their important work to build a new, more just society by empowering the youths with digital and social medial.
For me – I will take with me a renewed confidence in the importance of encouraging youngsters to use digital media to work for the good and for justice. It is a power that can be used both for good and for bad, let’s guide the young people of Finland (and the world) how to use it right!