I had to learn to use the Internet, social media and deal with applications all by myself. Surely, some of you have experienced the same. Even if you have been lucky enough to get ‘Internet tutored,’ I think you will agree that no one has either the time or willingness to become ‘media literate’ beforewards.
Let’s face it: we want those services and we want them immediately.
However, does it not make Kellner’s (2002) idea of exploiting the concept of ‘media literacy’ for the creation of a new generation of Internet users unachievable? As poetic as ‘solving the world’s problems’ through a more educated user may sound, nobody can force you to ‘use media intelligently’ (Kellner, 2002, cited in Allan, 2013).
More importantly, nobody can tell you exactly what that means.
The definition of ‘media literacy’ is a bit general: ‘knowledge about how to use a computer alongside the Interned and its applications effectively and efficiently’ (Kellner, 2002, cited in Allan, 2013). OK, fair enough.
But how can this ‘effectiveness’ and ‘efficiency’ be practised for the fulfillment of a greater cause: ‘speaking on behalf of the voiceless’ and ‘achieving social equality and justice’ (Hobbs, 2010, cited in Allan, 2013)?
The idea of a digitally skilled and literal user is an ambitious one. Especially when we consider its scale. In the US alone, users aged 14 and over are expected to become almost 280 million in 2020.
Who will educate them in being ‘media literate?’ Who can ensure their future engagement with social, political and economic issues? No one. In fact, no one would bother to.
And that is exactly why Kellner (2002) might be considered too idealistic.
We are living in a network society, no doubt. But how we choose to participate in it, for what purposes we use the Internet’s services and for whose advantage is something the individual user decides on a daily basis.
A choice, which does not necessarily take into account his ‘media literacy.’