Importance of Media Literacy -- Washington Post Article
Yesterday the Washington Post published an article on its website that has some relevant points for our forum. Here's the reference:
Villegas, P., & Knowles, H. (2021, February 5). After Capitol riot, desperate families turn to groups that ‘deprogram’ extremists. Washington Post.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/02/05/desperate-families-are-seeking-groups-that-deprogram-extremists/ And here are a few key points:
Quotation: "Brian Hughes breaks radicalization down into three stages: the people “circling the drain” and just considering extremist ideas; the “hard core” like those who stormed the U.S. Capitol; and the people between.
The best time to step in is the “circling the drain” stage, when there is an opportunity to focus on teaching basic media literacy,..."
Points: (1) we can't reach everybody, focus on those we can reach; (2) media literacy /information literacy (call it what you will) is a key element of addressing the problem (and shouldn't we information professionals play a role, either by teaching, or by teaching the teachers?).
Quotation: "A high school student from New Hampshire said he was 11 when he first stumbled upon the concept of white nationalism through an online anime imageboard."
Point: we need information literacy instruction starting early: at least by middle school. In a way, this reminds me of sex education. If we ignore the topic, kids won't have the skills to deal with the misinformation they get exposed to. And they will get exposed to it, sooner than we might think.
Quotation: "“My goal was not to challenge his thought process or ideology but to get to a point where he could do it on his own,” said Buckley, who worked with the teenager."
Point: This reinforces what several participants have said that we shouldn't be the censors, we should equip our community members with the skills and tools they need to decide for themselves.