Academic journal article Cross - Cultural Communication

New Media Literacy Education for Children in the Context of Participatory Culture: Deficiency and Construction

Academic journal article Cross - Cultural Communication

New Media Literacy Education for Children in the Context of Participatory Culture: Deficiency and Construction

Article excerpt


Rapid development of new media has given birth to the so-called participatory culture. However, as an active group, children are swept along in this trend and moreover, they are thrown to the edge of danger of over-entertainment and over-consumption. This paper sorts out and defines the meaning of new media literacy of children, suggesting that all manner of effort should be made to safeguard childhood in experiencing children new media with the objective of fostering proactive target audience and the kernel of reconstructing the subject of children.

Key words: New media literacy; Education of new media literacy; Children development; Participatory culture


With the accelerating development of science and technology of communication, new media equipped with powerful digital handling technology and internet interaction technique now have generated new type of media culture, namely "participatory culture". Such fashion featured by liberty, equality, inclusiveness and sharing is gaining great popularity among children. Given this background, traditional education of media literacy aiming to teach children to resist temptation critically has found it unfit the current cultural transition and real demands. Therefore, literacy education of new media then is supposed to shoulder the heavy responsibility of leading the way for children to interact independently with new media.


1.1 Focus of Debate

A hot topic recently in the field of new media literacy revolves around the issue of definition of new media literacy without reaching any unanimous conclusion due to the identification of core capability of new media literacy.

It is proposed by American New Media Consortium that "new media literacy is about a set of capabilities and skills constituted by overlapping auditory, vision and digital literacy, which include comprehension abilities of vision and auditory power, the ability to identify and utilize such power, the ability to control and transform digital medium, the ability of universal communication of digital contents as well as the ability to easily reproduce digital contents" (Li, 2007). This definition values personal capacity of understanding, producing and disseminating media texts while overlooking the important characteristics of cyberspace-collective and interactive. Jenkins points out that "new media literacy should be regarded as a way to interact in a large community instead of simply as some skills for individual expression." He then summaries new media literacy into 11 core abilities as follows: games ability, imitation ability, performance ability, reallocation ability, ability to handle multi-tasks, ability of distribution cognition, ability of collective wisdom, ability of trans-media navigation, cyberability and negotiation ability (Li, 2007). His definition concerns more than the individual, it also keeps an eye on children activities in virtual space. However, it has to be grouped into "skill mode" when attentions are paid to practice ability alone. Relevant knowledge, awareness, quality, spirit and so on should be given certain credits no matter what kind of literacy we are talking about. Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman put forward in their new book Networked: The New Social Operating System that man should possess such new media literacy in this networking society: (a) image processing ability-understand this e-time or image-reading era, in online working manners that mainly deal with processing pictures; (b) navigating ability- to search, exchange and share online information; (c) ability of organizing and connecting informationto fast understand and give reasonable explanation to information; (d) concentration-the ability that strictly distinguishes online and offline life as well as the ability to automatically diminish the distraction from internet; (e) the ability to handle multi-tasks-take care of various missions of family, job, friends and public institutions simultaneously; (f) skepticism-consciousness and ability to effectively evaluate and examine information; (g) moral literacy-cultural morality and social norms that can support the use, creation and spread of the media (Lee, 2012). …

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