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March 2, 2011 (Ottawa) – Media Awareness Network (MNet), Canada’s leading media literacy and digital literacy organization, today launched From Consumer to Citizen: Digital Media and Youth Civic Engagement, a discussion paper outlining the important role digital literacy plays in ensuring youth become competent and engaged civic and political actors.
“In today’s digital world, civic and political bodies are racing to establish a presence online and a great many political actions now occur in virtual spaces,” said Jane Tallim, Co-Executive Director of MNet. “In our report we encourage educators to examine digital literacy skills development as a means for children and youth to positively and actively engage in civic and political life.”
The brief focuses on the impact media, particularly interactive technology, has on children and youth’s involvement in civics and politics. It looks at the current state of youth and civic engagement and includes a list of recommendations to help educators foster and support youth civic engagement in a digital world.
“Long term political attitudes which affect adult civic behaviour (in both voting and other forms of engagement) are shaped from a young age, so youth apathy must be addressed years before the age of 18. In our schools, however, civics programs are not keeping pace with the rapidly expanding online opportunities for civic engagement that are available to young people,” said Ms. Tallim.
Among the many recommendations, MNet invites educators to consider the potential downsides of limiting access at school to certain online environments such as social networking sites, asking educators to see these sites as effective tools to circulate petitions, display affiliations, join causes, and invite others to get involved.
For a comprehensive list of MNet’s recommendations and a complete copy of From Consumer to Citizen: Digital Media and Youth Civic Engagement visit the MNet Web site.
Media Awareness Network (MNet) is a Canadian not-for-profit centre for media literacy and digital literacy. Its vision is that young people have the critical thinking skills to engage with media as active and informed digital citizens. MNet's programs are funded by its public and private sector sponsors, donors and partners, who include: CTV • Shaw • TELUS • Bell • Canadian Internet Registration Authority • Google • National Film Board of Canada • Government of Canada.
Contact: Ann Marie Paquet, Communications Officer, Media Awareness Network
613-224-7721 ext. 231, firstname.lastname@example.org
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