Raising children in this age of digital and media literacy could be one of the most daunting tasks any parent could face, but it doesn’t have to be. Children themselves have been exposed to more media and digital platforms than all previous generations combined but quantity isn’t the only piece of the puzzle. When putting together the effects of content, media, and exposure effects on a child you have to look at quality and context. 

Educators have had a hectic day designing curriculums in digital resources and technologies with a target of keeping kids engaged in a safe and responsible manner. Content designers and marketers in their own realm seem to be making children a dumping ground for all manner of apps and media devices, and advertising the same for the profit motive.

Common sense critical thinking approach and the use so far

Concerned that their kids might consume inappropriate content before they know it, parents are getting more worried about the negative impacts these might have on child development. They seem to be at the crossroads. As a defensive approach, they have been using the common-sense critical thinking approaches to filter the good from the ugly.  And being virtually limited in digital exposure, they are overwhelmed by the amount and variety of apps and the associated technology that are available for children in the digital landscape where they thrive. A close examination of this common-sense approach will help us see to what extent it can solve the problems.

More than common-sense critical thinking is required to bridge the literacy gap

Common sense is the ability to think and behave in a reasonable way. The common-sense approach involves making decisions about appropriate child media based on a simple perception of the situation, a blend of what has been working with an intuition of what should be, all things being equal. It is a collection of estimates of what worked best before. 

Critical thinking, on the other hand, is an intentional measurement of the situation based on its own philosophies. It integrates judging scenarios based on studied reasoning. Critical thinking examines two problem scenarios and compares them according to certain criteria. Common sense offers individuals a framework for making the right decisions in the face of recurring issues. 

Using a critical thinking approach, parents have made use of good judgment in making choices concerning age appropriateness of specific content, devices, and apps. In making such decisions, they’ve also considered family and cultural differences as well as values. On average, they have recorded levels of success. 

Whereas common sense is a dictator of actions because it informs people what to do in a given situation and tells users the consequences of a range of responses.  Critical thinking is an advisor for action.

Common sense critical thinking: the need for integration with digital media literacy

According to the National Association of Media Literacy Education, media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, create, and act using all forms of communication. It applies to media from the internet, smartphone, video games, etc. It includes the nuts-and-bolts skills of media literacy and the attendant ethical obligations. 

Today, kids use digital media to explore, connect, and learn in ways never before imagined. As part of the process, they are exposed to several dangers such as cyberbullying, digital cheating, health, and safety concerns. 

Parents, on the other hand, have always wanted the best for their kids and are ever willing to give them the best they have. However, the digital and media landscape is getting deeper than can be managed by a mere common sense of critical thinking. The need for change could not need more than now. 

Common Sense Media has urged parents to rise up and take charge of the entire media technologies that run in their family life, thus ensuring that kids receive a rich digital learning experience that is balanced with sound entertainment. Confronting them too are the tasks of managing non-stop screen time, age-appropriate content, and cyberbullying. 

Since today’s parents are only learning to become parents to digital children, technology has to a large extent, created a disconnect that will inhibit parents’ ability to engage insecure attachment with their children if left unmarked. Parents therefore must be assisted to shape up so as not to be shipped out of responsible parenting.

There has been a serious need for an education system that ensures comprehensive training for all stakeholders in digital media literacy. It’s a bridge that has to be built to connect parents with educators and content developers and at the same time link up children with educators and parents. This alone would reinforce media education messages in the home when the kids return from school. The “connecting bridge” will as a matter of necessity achieve the following:

  1. Assure parents of an adequate representation of their kids in the diversity project both in the context and content of the devices. 
  2. Ensure that educators are influenced at the curriculum level have an open conversation with kids that reflects diversity and inclusion- and this would be devoid of stereotypes.
  3. Insist that media developers add privacy and diversity to the curated content with strategic messaging and structure that produces creative smart writing, with smart positioning and great execution.

Arcade Consulting builds the bridge

Arcade Consulting is an ally for smart, savvy, and safe media content development. We promote healthy consumption and we take a  ‘kid-first’ approach to all the programming and games that we co-produce, develop, and consult on. 

We have worked for media organizations, created a messaging and strategic engagement that is driven straight to the end-user. And now, we’re poised to bring those targeting points to parents, teaching them what to look at when media messages are coming to their kids while they’re online.  Yes, the more informed parents are, the better empowered they’ll be to protect their kids. 

With a team of children’s media specialists, digital and gaming consultants, advertising professionals, media law advisors, and creative writers, Arcade Consulting already understands the optimal digital literacy designs that will achieve education, entertainment, and social adoption for today and tomorrow.

We use ethical marketing techniques and immersive technologies to bring kid’s education to the fore. 

Keeping kids safe and parents sane

With the integration of common sense critical thinking to digital media literacy, Arcade Consulting aims to bring  kid’s online safety and parent’s a little  sanity through practiced philosophies:

  • Parents are able to challenge stereotypes, biases, and latent motivations or agendas behind certain productions. 
  • Parents learn how media influences behavior and will be able to teach their kids how to recognize false representations of reality. 
  • Parents and kids can identify different types of media and understand the message they’re sending. 
  • As they begin to evaluate each media content, it becomes easier to determine the sensibleness or otherwise of the message. 
  • The family becomes a smarter media consumer by recognizing the persuasive intent of advertisers and resisting unwholesome techniques employed by some marketers to sell their products.

Visit our website www.arcadeconsulting.com for a wide range of resources and to access any of our business packages. 

Catherine Halprin

About Catherine Halprin

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