From Information Overload to Media Balance-Navigating the Era of Digital Media Consumption-Image32
Kaitlin Alexander
February 08, 2024

Navigating the Era of Digital Media Consumption

Empowering Tomorrow's Minds
In today's digital age, the way we consume news and media has a profound impact on our perceptions, beliefs, and understanding of the world around us. As educators, parents, and individuals, it is essential to recognize the importance of cultivating a healthy media diet for the next generation. In Nord Anglia Education INSIGHTS article, An Audacious Goal: A Healthy Media Diet. It explores the transformative goal of promoting a healthy media diet and empowering children to navigate the complexities of the modern media landscape. 

Jodie Jackson, founder of the News Literacy Lab, has embarked on an audacious mission to revolutionize children's relationships with the news. Jackson recognizes how the news can be overwhelming and perpetuates a sense of helplessness, emphasizing the need for solutions-focused journalism. By highlighting positive developments and fostering stories, children can cultivate a sense of agency and optimism in addressing societal challenges. 

At North Broward Preparatory School, the commitment to empowering our campus community to discern between empowering journalism and feel-good narratives is paramount. Through education and media literacy initiatives, students learn to critically evaluate news sources, understand bias, and distinguish between credible information and misinformation. Positive and solutions-oriented reporting not only inspires children but also equips them with the tools to engage constructively with current events. 

Creating safe and supportive spaces for discussion. On Wednesdays and Fridays in upper school, students have a thirty-minute class period called N.E.S.T. (nurturing, empathetic, support team). Teachers provide social and emotional support for a small group of students to discuss. This is essential in helping children navigate complex and sometimes distressing news topics. By facilitating open dialogue and providing guidance from trusted adults, educators can foster critical thinking and emotional resilience in response to news media. Encouraging civic engagement further empowers children to act on issues they care about, deepening their understanding of the news media's role in shaping public discourse. 

From Information Overload to Media Balance-Navigating the Era of Digital Media Consumption-personal branding

All high school students take Personal Branding, to better understand their own brand and explore how to market themselves. Teacher, Ysabel Ortiz, shares with the class that it's not only about developing a strong resume and interview skills. “The class is about empowering the students to navigate social media and confidently manage their online presence, ensuring they interact on platforms professionally. Through networking skills, body language tips, online privacy settings, and real-world interviews, I equip students for success.” Ms. Ortiz has taught in various international schools in Latin America, Europe, and the US, which has pushed her passion for communication and cultivated a love for networking with students. 

From Information Overload to Media Balance-Navigating the Era of Digital Media Consumption-learn to start

In Learn to Start, our Entrepreneurial Studies Program, students learn to sell their passion and story. By identifying marketable solutions for real-world problems and transforming those solutions into effective "go-to-market" business plans, news topics are discussed in this class to help students better understand what is happening in our world and spark curiosity for change. Teacher Jeremy Hall, shares the importance of practicing reading, watching, and listening. "In a world of absent-minded, algorithm-driven consumption, we aim to promote conscious choice behind our information and entertainment consumerism. LTS mentors are always recommending new resources to read, watch, or listen to. Our classes often begin with a news briefing that focuses on any industry or market behavior. Recently, we discussed Nike's mission statement on their 60th anniversary."

Learn to Start program Junior Michael Babincak IV shares that he remembers a middle school teacher sharing news that used to be strictly fact-based, with no opinions. Now, he encourages all students to find that information and formulate an opinion for themselves. 

From Information Overload to Media Balance-Navigating the Era of Digital Media Consumption-reporter
As a journalist turned educator, I have witnessed firsthand the evolution of media consumption and the challenges posed by the proliferation of "fake news." Despite the uncertainties, I remain hopeful that journalism will continue to seek the truth and share powerful stories that shape our understanding of the world. By directing students to navigate the digital age responsibly, we can ensure that journalism's vital role in society endures.  

We can lead the next generation to embrace solutions-focused journalism, fostering media literacy, and encouraging critical thinking to become informed, engaged, and responsible citizens in an increasingly digital world.