The media is, was, might be, will be, has been blamed for, has been praised for, can do, can’t do, provides, causes and influences a lot of things. We are exposed to it in one form or another every day, if not every minute. Sometimes we choose to participate (like when you read this awesome blog) and sometimes a bus just happens to go by (how did it know I needed more mayonnaise in my life?!).
Yet, whether you choose to be exposed to commercials / films / sitcoms / news / books (have you ever read a book by accident?) / websites / posters, or not, odds are it’s going to happen. The only choice you have is what you do with this information.
I’m sure your teachers have stressed the importance of using reliable, authentic sources when writing reports and essays in school, and the information you use in your day-to-day life is no different. Although I’m sure many of us aren’t fooled by the purported pros of solar powered broom racks (they’re environmentally friendly!), things aren't always so obvious.
Can a picture lie?
Can you determine the difference between fact and opinion?
Who publishes websites?
Do you decide what is attractive to you? Is it biological, or is it something you learn?
There are many great resources dedicated to media awareness. Media-Awareness.ca is a non-profit organization with a great website which covers everything from surfing the web (should you fill out that online survey???) to the portrayal of men and women in the media. Did you know that the average model weights 20% less than the average woman? If you fit the dimensions of a Barbie doll, you would have to remove half of your liver and most of your bowels. Gross.
Although the “media” comes in many forms, the common factor is information. Make sure you know who put that information there and why, especially if it is information that you are basing your decisions or opinions on. For reliable online sources you can check out our E-Library collection of magazine articles, encyclopedias, business directories and other databases. You can also browse our catalogue online to search for books, movies, magazines, music… media.
There is a wealth of truly wonderful / awful / informative / ridiculous / strange / and fascinating information out there, but remember to use your ?’s as often as possible.