The Future of Children
This organization gears it efforts through equipping adults with information and tools in order to assist young people to better understand how the media operates and affects their lifestyle choices and also to the extent at which they as consumers and citizens are being well informed. Through the support of the Canadian government, key communications companies and partners in the education, library and non-profits sectors, it has developed three core programs on its Web site in English and French.
The first one is media education. Basically, MNet’s foundation program evaluates a wide range of media particularly including television, film, video games, advertising, popular music and newspapers. It has The Parent section in the site that gives tips for talking to children about the media and valuable advice on how they can manage media use in home. The Educators section consist teaching units and supporting materials that are specifically designed to Canadian provincial media education outcomes for grades from K-12.
The same section has The Media Issues section that critically examines media related topics such as stereotyping , privacy, violence, marketing to children, the portrays of diversity in the media and online hate. Through MNets studying the implications of the Internet for young
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Therefore, Web Awareness Canada is MNet’s program that highlights several challenges and questions that emanates from children and young people as they interact with Internet. It tries to address some issues such as if the kids can be able to distinguish fact from opinion , recognize online marketing techniques, understand the need to protect their personal privacy or handle inappropriate or illegal contents (Ferguson & Shade , 2002)
In this site parents , teachers and librarians are provided with practical information together with hands on activities to help give the kids the ‘cyber smarts’ necessary for them to make wise, safe and responsible online decisions. This program has been chosen as the public cornerstone for the Government of Canada’s Cyberwise Strategy on illegal and offensive Internet content. Web Awareness Canada is steadily expanding to include Internet literacy resources that are designed for use by young people. The last core program of MNet is ‘Young Canadians In A Wired World’ (YCCW).
This program was initiated in 2000 and it is the most comprehensive and wide ranging study of its own kind. It is a research project that investigates and tracks the behaviors, attitudes and opinions of Canadian children and youth in regard to their use of the Internet. MNet from use of interviews and group discussions with parents and national student surveys, it has been able to harness a wealth of information and insights concerning how the Canadian youth who are among the most connected in the world are using the Internet (http://www. media-awareness. ca/english/research/YCWW/index.
cfm, 2009). This research has brought about issues that demands society’s attention and besides highlighting the importance of adult involvement and education as the major components in helping young people make wise online decisions. The operations of MNet are funded primarily through contributions of private sector sponsors and the Government of Canada with support of annul memberships of individuals, other non-profit organizations and small businesses. It major collaborating partners are Canadian Library Association, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation and the Girl Guide of Canada.
Despite the fact that media plays a significant role in the society by promoting development, on other hand it has crept in social ills that are unbearable. Media has been so powerful that its influence has taken children and adult alike into its captivity without their knowledge. The nature under which media has been found to have negative influences particularly to young children is through violence and aggressive behavior, its social content, body image and self esteem and physical health and school children.
Studies show a strong correlation between media violence and aggressive behavior among children and adolescents. As result of increased effects of sexual content exposure content on television, moral judgment of significant number of adolescents has been compromised. Children spend more time in media consumption that has lead to low physical activity level which adversely affect their health and also take valuable time for their studies. In response to this, there are non-profit organizations like Media Awareness Network (MNet) which have started implementing programs related to media literacy.
Media literacy involves imparting skills that encompass ability to critically analyze media messages and ability to use various kinds of media communication technologies for self -expression and communication. MNet to achieve these objectives it promotes media and Internet education through production of online programs and resources. Its efforts are geared towards equipping adults with knowledge and tools to enable them assist young generation to understand how media operates and affects their lifestyle choices in order to make informed decisions.
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