Media Literacy in the UK

13 Jun

Thanks to the Media Education Association's twitterfeed, this report came to my attention this morning. Sonia Livingstone and Yinhan Wang of the London School of Economics and Political Science describe the state of Media Literacy in the UK. The report states that while initial efforts to promote Media Literacy and Media Education were successful, the progress of that success has stalled and in some cases,dropped off. It highlights areas of particular concern to Media Educators:

  • Fewer children check the reliability of websites than adults. (6)
  • Children are taught about the internet, but their learning about television lags, even though it is still an important source of information. (8)
  • "Children should be made to feel confident in their skills and abilities to create." (8)

They assert that:

The media can no longer be relegated to the domain of leisure. Rather, the media are infrastructural to modern life, underpinning our work as well as family, public as well as private life, civic as well as personal domains. We do not leave individuals to figure out for themselves how to use the crucial medium of print. Media illiteracy is as problematic in the twenty first century as print illiteracy was in the twentieth. (3)


I wonder whether these findings would hold true for other populations in other countries (Canada, for example)? The areas they highlight are certainly ones that would benefit from additional attention in the classroom and beyond. The report is definitely worth a read for anyone interested in Media Education across the curriculum.

What do you think? Do you think that we, as educators are doing enough to prepare our students for the media environments they will encounter as adults? Are we teaching them enough about media to be confident creators and to think critically about the media texts they encounter? Are our students Media Literate when they graduate? How do you integrate Media Literacy into your teaching? I'd love to hear more in the comments below.

Work Cited

Livingstone, Sonia, and Yinhan Wang. Media Literacy and the Communications Act: What Has Been Achieved and What Should Be Done? Policy brief. London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Media and Communications, 13 June 2011. Web. 13 June 2011. <>.

Images by: Ian Britton