Media Literacy Practice and Modeling Critical Thinking

Jyun-Cheng Li / MA Candidate
Graduate Institute of Mass Communication

Information is endlessly available to us. Where shall wisdom be found? To answer this, I believe that a good number of people may think differently. But, in my opinion, I realize that it is necessary to take everything with a grain of salt for two reasons.

First of all, modeling critical thinking is what I strive for owing to full of misinformation and disinformation. Specifically, we’re fighting an infodemic as well as the COVID-19 pandemic nowadays. When I major in graduate institute of Mass Communication, I access an amount of information from different media platform. Certainly, the social platforms are packed with distortion of the facts and contents of racial discrimination, sex and Authoritarian. People are overwhelming and becoming used to spreading the misinformation or disinformation inasmuch as they believe what they saw. In other words, these contents influence people imperceptibly when they spend an immense amount of time surfing the net. After the distortion of the facts impacts on most people, they mostly strive for internal psychological consistency to function mentally by selective exposure to avoid psychologically uncomfortable and contradictory information likely to increase the magnitude of the cognitive dissonance.

With above this context, I can inform you that I attempt to utilize lateral thinking to deconstruct and analyze the content of social platform. Namely, I cultivate media literacy and empowerment by tapping into fact check website, ascertaining the source of the news and distinguishing between advertorial and editorial. That is to say it’s arduous to tell whether you’re reading an article, news or an advertorial. As we know that not only authoritative people but also consortium exploit media to manipulate the mass. In terms of media manipulation, it presumably gives rise to corrosion of moral standards. On the other hand, these manipulators harness media to inculcate the ideology of political and disseminate the ideological information what they hold. Accordingly, that is why I hold the view that it’s critical to increase people’s awareness of certify the content and information.

On top of that, having an attitude of doubt or having a skeptical attitude is conducive to broaden the horizon. In other words, it is efficient for me to sort out the useful and feasible information while I was preparing my thesis. In contrast, the easier I believe on social network, the more possible I will be manipulated. For example, as I took part in media literacy camp in February, 2021, I devoted myself to teaching the children where they reside in remote area. Specifically, they live in Hualien County, where they are lack of knowledge and ability of digital media literacy. Compare Taipei City to Hualien County, I strongly believe that children live in Hualien do not have more complete education than Taipei because of resource asymmetry and information asymmetry. When they surf the net, they cater for different things because algorithm governs the social network. In other words, a few social platforms become predominant and digital autocrat such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Tit Tok. That is so called paradigm shift which is different from traditional society. On one hand, the people who predominate citizens are not government but platform possessor. On the other hand, everyone has more opportunities to approach the media to practice media accessibility. In earnest, not only prestigious or authoritative people but also ordinary people can employ media to express their thoughts and perspectives. Whereas, the Digital Turn also leads to inevitable and irrevocable contradictory such as cyber army, information warfare and cognitive warfare. It probably heads for democracy degeneration and conjures me up Einstein’s motto, which is “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” As a result, in my view, media literacy is pivotal and profound for us to develop. For starters, it heightens people’s awareness of media sensitive degree. Secondly, it gears towards to the dimension of audience and prosumer which is empowering them to become a well-rounded individual. Accordingly, I taught the Hualien’s children what media literacy is. Through this experience, I also see some students begin new hobbies. Plus, do not share the information which is disputable and suspicious. The last but not the least, using fact check website can understand what truth is and what fake news is. 

In conclusion, when it comes to modeling critical thinking, I fully take practicing media literacy into account. At large, as we know that media literacy illuminates us how to distinguish and evaluate misinformation or disinformation and compelling content. Also, reinforcing the ability of media literacy may make me adept at collating concrete information when I was swamped with my thesis and essay. Likewise, thinking outside the box is one of the ways to practice critical thinking. It stimulates different parts of my brain and leads to greater creativity. To do so, I’m done tech detox weekends here and there, and once more return my attention to the breath and my paperwork. Studying in my lab is feasible for me to concentrate. The years I spent in Union building were the best of my life. National Taiwan Normal University not only encourages me to excel academically, but it truly allows me to find my purpose. Consequently, these advantages spice up my school life. I take pride in my school. From now on, I view things from different angles.