Are you media literate? Expert urges knowledge and action
Dr. Linda Bettinger
Did you know the average American person watches more than four hours of TV each day? That is 28 hours a week, or two months of nonstop TV-watching per year. Are you one of these people?
Watching TV can be relaxing, entertaining and you don't have to think about what is going on around you. But according to Linda Bettinger, media specialist at Greenville Elementary in North Logan, there should be at least a few things you do think about. Bettinger says you need to be media literate.
Bettinger has been a media specialist at Summit Elementary in Smithfield for nine years before she recently moved to Greenville. She also teaches a workshop in the summer at USU called "Advertising, Sex, Violence and Stereotypical Messages."
So what is media literacy? According to Bettinger, "It's being smart about the media."
There are three steps to becoming media literate, Bettinger says. The first is review what you will be watching. Gathering information and reading what the TV show, movie, or video game is about, will help you to decide if you want to see the material.
Second, reflect on what you watched. For example, think of the characters' roles -- what kinds of people did they play? If they committed a crime, did they take responsibility for their actions?
"Take the time to talk about what you've just watched, that's the problem in society today we don't stop and reflect on things we've seen," Bettinger said.
Finally, react, Bettinger says. Make a statement. Don't be afraid to stand up for something if you don't agree with it. The media need to know how consumers feel about what they're watching, and how it affects our lives. Instead of sitting down in front of the TV when you want something to do, pick up a book and read or go for a walk.
"Media literacy is education for social empowerment," Bettinger