Media-LiteracyMediaSmarts, Canada’s leading centre for digital and media literacy and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) along with the Alberta Teachers Association (ATA) announced this year’s Media Literacy Week, to be held November 6 to 10, will focus on diversity and inclusion online for children and teens.

“Inclusion in a Connected World: A Place and a Voice for Everyone” will promote ways in which diverse voices, perspectives and talents can participate and enrich our media and digital spaces. The week will highlight how young people can create welcoming digital environments and engage in respectful dialogue online.

Everyone benefits from inclusive online spaces that allow people to share their unique perspectives,” says Cathy Wing, Co-Executive Director of MediaSmarts. “If we want to build a friendly online culture for children and teens, we need to engage them as the next generation of users and creators.

“Teachers can challenge students to address critical questions about diversity and inclusion of different voices, both online and in person,” says CTF President Heather Smith. “As digital citizens, students have much to share and offer in terms of lived experiences and creative approaches through these discussions.”

Media Literacy Week, an annual event co-hosted by MediaSmarts and CTF, highlights the importance of teaching children and teens digital and media literacy skills. Over 100 collaborating organizations – which include Girl Guides of Canada, YWCA and teacher associations – participate each year by organizing activities across Canada and internationally. Media Literacy Week was officially adopted in the U.S. in 2015, where it is led by the National Association for Media Literacy Education.

MediaSmarts and CTF welcome TELUS as a Platinum Sponsor and Bell and YouTube as Gold Sponsors of Media Literacy Week 2017. Announcements for events, programs, partners and more will continue leading up to Media Literacy Week. For updates, visit medialiteracyweek.ca or sign up for the e-bulletin.

Ideas for Families

Because the majority of kids’ media use happens in the home, parents, grandparents and caregivers have an important role to play in helping young people get the most of the media they love. Media literacy is not media management or monitoring, rather it’s getting kids to think critically about what they are doing, seeing and hearing when they interact with media.

Here are some tips for integrating media literacy into your home:

Talk about it: Just the simple act of having a conversation about TV, movies, music, Internet, video games, etc. with your kids will open up the door to them becoming more media literate. Keep the conversation neutral and positive. In other words don’t lecture or nag! Instead ask them questions to get the dialogue started. Start this habit early, and then as they get older, encourage them to ask questions of their own.For a list of sample questions to start the dialogue see tip sheet Co-Viewing with Your Kids. For tips on how to talk to kids about various media issues see the Tip Sheets section.

Look for teachable moments:

Media isn’t just scripted and packaged products: breaking news stories, scandals and celebrity meltdowns are all great opportunities for conversation.

Respect your kids’ media choices:

While you have a right to decide what media products you’ll allow in your home, your kids may develop very different tastes than yours. Resist the urge to try to show them what’s “wrong” about their media choices, even if some of the content makes you uncomfortable. Instead, give them the skills to ask their own questions and reach their own conclusions. Don’t forget to look at positive examples when talking about things like stereotyping.

Encourage media production:

Give your kids the opportunity to create their own media, not just analyze it. There’s no substitute for hands-on experience to help kids understand how things like editing and music can influence the way a movie or TV show affects us emotionally. Learning how to code and create apps will help foster important digital skills for the future.

Visit the media making spaces at the main public libraries in Calgary and Edmonton with your family:

EPL-Maker-Space

Edmonton’s Makerspace, located in the Enterprise Square Space at 10212 Jasper Avenue, is a completely public creative and collaborative environment where ideas are shared, expanded and brought to life. At the Makerspace you’ll find incredible technology and equipment for creating, collaborating and sharing. You’ll find 3D printers, sound booths and even a green screen to bring your creative ideas to life.For more information see: https://www.epl.ca/makerspace or call: 780-944-5342.

IDEA-LAB

The Idea Lab,Calgary Central Library’s 5th floor studio space, is a place for Calgarians to meet, share ideas and collaborate. It’s the ideal spot to come up with new ideas and solutions for your next creative project! You’ll find whiteboard walls, prototyping tools, design-thinking exercises, and fun technology in the Idea Lab, along with an Epson BrightLinks Touch Screen Projector and a Smart KAPP board so you can easily share and record your ideas. For more information see: https://calgarylibrary.ca/idealab or call 403-260-2600.

Resources

There are lots of great resources on the For Parents section on the MediaSmarts website that you can share with your children or grandchildren for a “media literacy moment” during media literacy week.

Digital-Citizenship-Guide

Digital Citizenship Guide for Parents