As a youth leadership facilitator I am often amazed at the sources middle school students consider legitimate channels for news and information. In a world filled with tweets, Instagram, and Facebook, I question the validity of the information students receive, as well as their understanding of the importance of the l message they receive. Too often, they accept the information they receive as truth without questioning its origin and impact.
Today’s students have been comfortable with 140 character messages, filled with abbreviations and lacking in detail. One idea tweeted is often rapidly spread throughout the student community before it can be questioned and analyzed.
In addition, those students who do read, watch or listen to the news do not understand the biased information from many of what we now consider “mainstream” news outlets. All of this reduces a student’s (and citizen’s) ability to critically analyze the only the enormous amount of information they currently receive, but also hinders their ability to find responsible source of information.
Because of these concerns, Summit Leadership Initiative supports media literacy education and praises the efforts of Gateway Media Literacy Partners and its work to promote critical thinking, and media literacy that “empowers citizens to make intelligent and healthy choices throughout their lifetime.”
Tom Schweizer is a certified coach and consultant, as well as the executive director of Summit Leadership Initiative, where he works in middle schools, guiding students to identify their dreams, and develop the attitudes, skills, and written goals necessary to build a healthy and successful life.