The extensive research literature on media literacy is reflected by diverse theoretical conceptions, assumptions, and conclusions. Nevertheless, the considerations of numerous scholars in this «patchwork of ideas» (Potter 2010, 676) revolve around the importance of critical thinking and the interplay of different generations in the acquisition of media literacy.
Many scholars argue that critical thinking is a key qualification for the reflection of possible risks and a media use oriented towards opportunities. The ability to use media critically is directly linked to democratic-theoretical considerations, where information (Buckingham 2007), knowledge (Potter 2010), and analytical skills (Koltay 2011) are defined as components of media literacy. Information and knowledge are necessary for gaining access to media offerings, to analyze and evaluate them, and to create own media content (e.g., a profile on social networking sites like Instagram; Livingstone and Helsper 2010). Definitions of media literacy are usually based on the ability to access media and on media knowledge as expertise. These skills are considered fundamental for a reflective and (self-)critical use of media (self-competence), and to pass one’s own knowledge and abilities to others (social competence). However, previous research (e.g., Livingstone 2014) has also shown that deficits in media literacy lie less in knowledge, but rather in subsequent actions and thus in the transformation of knowledge into action. Knowledge does not automatically lead to a critical use of media or to a change in behavior (Martens 2010; Riesmeyer, Pfaff-Rüdiger and Kümpel 2012; 2016). It is, therefore, not enough to only focus on knowledge, but respective actions must be considered as well when investigating media literacy and its mediation.
Buckingham, David. 2007. «Digital media literacies: Rethinking media education in the age of the Internet.» Research in Comparative and International Education, 2, 43–55.
Hobbs, Rene. 2011. «The State of Media Literacy: A Response to Potter.» Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 55 (3), 419-430.
Koltay, Tibor. 2011. «The media and the literacies: Media literacy, information literacy, digital literacy.» Media, Culture & Society, 33, 211–221.
Livingstone, Sonia. 2014. «Developing social media literacy: How children learn to interpret risky opportunities on social network sites.» Communications, 39, 283–303
Livingstone, Sonia, and Ellen Helsper. 2010. «Balancing opportunities and risks in teenagers’ use of the internet: the role of online skills and internet self-efficacy.» New Media & Society, 12 (2), 309-329.
Martens, Hans. 2010. «Evaluating media literacy education: Concepts, theories and future directions.» Journal of Media Literacy Education, 2 (1), 1–22.
Naab, Thorsten, and Christian Schwarzenegger. (2017). «Why aging is more important than being old. Understanding the elderly in a mediatized world.» Nordicom Review, 38, 93-107.
Potter, W. James. 2010. «The State of Media Literacy.» Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 54 (4): 675–696. https://doi.org/10.1080/08838151.2011.521462.
Pfaff-Rüdiger, Senta, Claudia Riesmeyer, and Anna Sophie Kümpel. 2012. «Media literacy and developmental tasks: a case study in Germany.» Media Studies, 3 (6), 42-56.
Riesmeyer, Claudia, Senta Pfaff-Rüdiger, and Anna Sophie Kümpel. 2016. «Wenn Wissen zu Handeln wird: Medienkompetenz aus motivationaler Perspektive.» Medien & Kommunikationswissenschaft, 64 (1), 36-55.
Süss, Daniel. 2010. «Mediensozialisation zwischen gesellschaftlicher Entwicklung und Identitätskonstruktion.» In Mediensozialisationstheorien edited by Dagmar Hoffmann and Lothar Mikos. 109-130. Wiesbaden: VS.
UNESCO 2016. «Media and Information Literacy.» Electronic document: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-information/media-development/media-literacy/mil-as-composite-concept/.