Media Literacy Education: Not Just for Kids
Libraries offer media literacy resources to help adults distinguish between real and fake news.
There is rising concern about the proliferation of false news and the potential harm it can do, partially because social media accounts for at least some of the news consumption of half of American adults. Adults are also susceptible to false information—this issue is not just about children and young adults. To help adults become more discerning about their news sources and learn how to identify between legitimate and fake news, there has been a push for libraries to offer media literacy training.
The value of media literacy in the current digital world is highlighted in a recent PressReader piece titled “Why Libraries Should Include Media Literacy Training for Adults." According to the study, it takes around six times longer for accurate news stories to reach the same amount of people as false news stories, which are 70 percent more likely to be retweeted than real news stories. This is especially dangerous because, on social media, false information may spread quickly and reach a large audience.
Libraries have started providing adult media literacy training to help solve this problem. These initiatives seek to instruct individuals in the critical evaluation of internet news, the detection of biased or deceptive information, and the use of reliable sources. Libraries have historically served as centers for education and learning. As technology continues to advance, many have started offering classes and workshops on important topics like media literacy to support the continued education of their communities.
Some libraries focus their media literacy education efforts more narrowly, such as offering programs designed especially for elders who might be less comfortable with social media and more susceptible to false information. Other libraries are collaborating with neighborhood news outlets to offer programming that teaches adults how to navigate the news media ecosystem and understand it correctly.
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The News Literacy Project, which collaborates with libraries and other groups to offer educational materials and training on media literacy, is one instance of a successful media literacy program for adults. The program provided by the News Literacy Project includes interactive courses that teach adults how to evaluate sources, recognize false news, and comprehend the landscape of the news industry. The program has been put into practice in libraries all around the country, and participants have given it favorable reviews.
Media literacy training is becoming increasingly crucial for individuals in the digital world. Libraries play an essential part in teaching adults how to evaluate news sources critically and know the difference between reality and fiction. By continuing to offer media literacy resources, libraries are empowering adults to become more educated and active citizens.
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