"Rethinking Media Literacy as a Pandemic Parent" in Cradle to the Classroom: Media Scholars Raising Media Saturated Kids During the Pandemic

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Conference Proceeding

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Experiencing lock-down with teenagers whose only regular interactions with other kids took place online, accelerated a crisis in my thinking: what to do when the philosophical grounding of your intellectual training and work comes into contact with the realities of parenting in a media saturated world? How do you balance your deep understanding of the complexities and pleasures of media consumption with concerns that your kids’ time on Tik Tok or any number of Discord servers may be leaving them vulnerable to bad actors and questionable content, some of which they themselves are creating?

Many argue that this is why media literacy is so important. But what do we really mean when we talk about media literacy: discourses of access, analysis, evaluation, creation, or participation? In media literacy terms, creation and participation often emerge as positive end-points of a learning process that begins with access, analysis, and evaluation. But should we move creation and participation closer to the front of the equation, prioritizing and interactively interrogating how kids’ interactions on social media platforms foreground the fluidity of identity and the processes of representation in both healthy and dangerous ways. If, as Stuart Hall argues, representation is NOT the re-presentation of something out there, but rather part of an ongoing (and never complete) constitution of that thing or person in discourse, should we worry less about the exponential growth of platforms and content and focus more on how our kids interactively and productively navigate identity and representations across platforms?


See conference program here.