Media Literacy and Digital Law 5 what must first be addressed are definitions of the concept. NAMLE re- ports that “there is a lack of public understanding about what it means to be ‘media literate’” (NAMLE, 2020). Just like with digital citizenship, media literacy is an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of skills and concepts. What are those concepts? How do they overlap with digital citizenship? And how does technology influence how we teach and talk about media literacy? Media Literacy in the 21st Century In 2018 I interviewed Michelle Lipkin, the director of the NAMLE, for my book Digital Citizenship: Teaching Strategies and Practice from the Field. In that conversation, she spoke about the connections between digital citi- zenship and media literacy. Lipkin spoke about how long media literacy has been around. It’s an established practice found in multiple subjects and included in educator standards. “Concepts of media literacy originated many decades ago while digital citizenship is a really new concept,” she said (Rogers-Whitehead, 2019). It’s that newness of digital citizenship that blurs the lines, differentiating factors, and overlap between the two disciplines. The newness, as well as the rapid pace of technology, makes it sometimes unclear what will happen next in both practices. Lipkin said of both disciplines, “It’s super important that we work together because our goals—to ensure students are prepared to thrive in the media-saturated world—align so nicely together” (Rogers- Whitehead, 2019). Digital citizenship is a part of media literacy. And media literacy is a part of digital citizenship. They are connected through the skills they teach: critical thinking, responsibly sharing and using information, evaluating resources, collaborating, and more. Media literacy contrasts with digital citizenship in that its area includes all media, not just content online. However, with more content online than ever before, that line can get blurry. Media literacy also has more established and agreed-upon stan- dards. Digital citizenship includes topics like digital health and wellness, digital commerce, privacy, and more. However, there are parts of me- dia literacy that include mental health, privacy, and evaluating financial transactions online. Digital commerce is part of digital citizenship, and it also relates to media literacy. For example, the ability to evaluate In- ternet ads and potential scams is part of having both digital commerce and media literacy skills. As technology has increased, these two fields have overlapped more, and as Lipkin recommends, we all need to work together.
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