YOUTH FOR BETTER MEDIA: How to find your way in the flood of news?
At the workshops in Zavidovići, Bijeljina, Brčko, Jajce and Travnik, young people learned media literacy skills and resistance to misinformation.
Youth for Better Media" is the project on the topic of media literacy and young people's resistance to misinformation about immunization. Young people had the opportunity to gain experience and discuss about these themes, during the workshops for young people in Zavidovići, Bijeljina, Brčko, Jajce and Travnik.
At the workshops, young people discussed and learned about what it means to be literate when it comes to media and information, how to recognize misinformation, conspiracy theories, manipulative and harmful content in the media and on social networks, how to check information that is marketed through traditional and online media and social media networks, and which sources are the best to rely on when it comes to health information.
Ilma, a student in the fourth grade of the Gymnasium in Zavidovići, says that the workshop met her expectations:
"Earlier, I attended several workshops on this topic, and I led one myself. I find it interesting, and I like that we have a practical part which we desperately need,” says Ilma, underlining the importance of media literacy among young people, especially in today's time:
"Young people need to be informed about these issues because they are part of our everyday life, which we cannot avoid, and that is why it is better to be as media literate as possible so that we know how to deal with media and information. Just as it has always been important to know how to read and write, today it is just as important to know how to use the media."
Zeid, a student at the IT gymnasium in Travnik, believes that the media literacy of young people is particularly important:
"We live in an age where information is very accessible, and the problem with young people is that they do not have sufficiently developed critical thinking to determine for themselves whether something is true, and they believe everything. A large amount of disinformation can lead the youth in the wrong direction. Workshops like this can help us find a way to check the credibility of a website and its content. We do learn computer literacy through formal education, but the content and programs are often outdated, and we need an updated version".
Amra, who goes to high school in Travnik, believes that young people should acquire the basics of media literacy to better understand the information they receive increasingly often, both through traditional media and through social networks.
"I think it should be mandatory to educate about this topic in schools so that young people do not fall into the flurry of fake news," says Amra, while Tarik, a fourth-grade student at the Gymnasium in Zavidovići, says that media literacy is important for future generations as well:
"I think that these and similar workshops are important because we are the future, and at some point, future generations will be dependent on us, will learn something from us, and we will transfer our knowledge to them."
Professor of philosophy and sociology Adnan Starčević, who attended the workshop in Zavidovići, says that it is necessary to improve media and information literacy among young people as much as possible:
"It is important that they are familiar with different sources of information and that they can distinguish between correct and incorrect information. I think this will help young people to be able to primarily understand the importance of information, and to know how to use it for their personal development", he says, adding that participation in the workshop prompted him to ideas about how could cover these topics in his classes.
The workshops were part of the "Youth for Better Media" project, funded by the European Union in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and jointly implemented by Mediacenter Sarajevo and JaBiHEU, in cooperation with UNICEF BiH and with the support of USAID Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Anida Sokol, media researcher and trainer of the Sarajevo Media Center, says that the young people's response to the workshops was excellent:
"Through the workshop, we try to encourage young people to research a certain website, learn what a credible source is, think about certain texts, and they always did these tasks brilliantly - to check the imprint, to see who is responsible for certain content, if there is any source in the text to check and find relevant information about it. This is the best way to encourage young people to think about the content they read. Such workshops should be organized in schools, considering that young people do not have many opportunities to encounter such topics through formal education".
"We all know that media, digital, scientific and health literacy are important for society, but we often don't know how to teach children and ourselves to be more careful in an environment where we are bombarded with content from social networks and the internet in general. It seems that there is a big gap between what children are exposed to when they view content, and what is offered to them in schools where they work according to old curricula and programs that do not follow what is currently happening", says scientific journalist Jelena Kalinić, warning that in this gap it can happen that children come across incorrect information and believe it:
"As young people often follow topics related to beauty and health, such misinformation can endanger their health and the health of entire families, and even endanger them economically if, for example, they are offered some fake remedies that are not medically and scientifically based, and they buy them. Of course, we cannot show children all these examples, but we can teach them what are the warning signs that something is wrong and that something they should not trust to".