Unwholesome and Insipid Fruit?: A Modern Unpacking of Media Panic Discourses and a Push for Progressive Media Literacy Education
In this humourous academic essay, I explore the historical roots of media panics, which are triggered by generational power struggles over the right to define and preserve culture. Within such panics there is often a rift between youth-oriented popular culture and adult-guarded "high" culture. This rift generally plays out as new media vs. old media, and becomes manifested as a condemnation of new technologies.
I investigate several contemporary critiques of new media in the digital age, each of which relies on the assertion that youths are victims of media consumption/addiction. Many of these critiques imply or explicitly state that exposure to new and digital media is making youths uncultured and stupid.
Finally, I offer the counter-argument that youths, far from being vulnerable consumers of media, are, in the Internet Age, quite frequently agential media producers and critical, innovative thinkers. I end the essay with a push for progressive media literacy education.
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