This keyboard reflects the idea of media literacy, with media literacy written on a keyboard key.

Turning media literacy into civic engagement

Students who use tech devices with ease don't necessarily have media literacy skills--here's how to cultivate media literacy and civic awareness

Being an informed contributor to America’s democratic practices and principles requires strong media literacy skills. Without them, even the most civic-minded will find it hard to assess and interpret the mass of information out in the world.

Jeff Knutson, Common Sense Education Content Strategist and Senior Producer, recognizes how challenging it is for students to negotiate media. In an edWebinar sponsored by Common Sense Education, Knutson outlined ways teachers can support students as they strengthen their media literacy to knowledgeably participate in civic engagement.

Seeing vs. understanding

Young people are early adopters of TikTok or use Snapchat, and tend to get most of their news from social media. Because they are tech savvy, there is the impression that they are good at interpreting messages. That isn’t the case. They actually struggle with the complexity of current events and politics.

Related content: 5 achievable digital citizenship goals

Social media platforms are not necessarily the best place to find factual news or information. People learn about breaking stories through them, typically in the form of confusing headlines (designed to distract) with articles that have the meat of the story but that consumers do not read. What’s really happening does not typically get translated in a Twitter or Facebook feed.

Want to share a great resource? Let us know at