KINGSTON — Executive Director of the Broadcasting Commission, Cordell Green, says it is imperative that children become digitally literate, so that they can shape their own media content.
"Digital literacy is about empowering our children to understand that media is not just something that they access, that they just go on You Tube or TV or the radio, but that they also understand how content is created and they themselves must increasingly be able to create content," he said. YouTube is a video-sharing website, which allows users to upload, share and view videos.
He was addressing a community forum at the Torrington Park Housing Scheme in Kingston, on Thursday (July 21).
Mr. Green noted that the Broadcasting Commission understands that it is not plausible, in a digital society, to continue to regulate media content in the same way, as opportunities to access information are widening.
"Our children are going to be exposed, at a much earlier age, to a wide rage of content, so we understand that we have to approach regulation now from the point of view of empowerment," he said.
In this respect, he stressed that Jamaica needs to begin to move away from being a "country of downloaders", desist from downloading everything that everyone else is creating, and begin to help to shape the world and upload its own positive content in the media.
"The internet gives us that great opportunity now, the first opportunity in fact in human history, for true equality, but it is not going to happen if our children are not able to command not just English but other languages – Chinese, French, Spanish – to be able to communicate with people all over the world and to able to upload more content than downloading," he said.
Mr. Green said he was of the belief that digital literacy must become a part of the curriculum for schools in Jamaica so that, once students enter primary school, digital literacy becomes a part of what they are exposed to and they end up far more prepared for the new society.
For this reason, the Broadcasting Commission has been collaborating, over the past two years, with the Ministry of Education, the United Nations' Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the joint board of teacher education to develop a media literacy project.
"We have already created a four-module video with teachers' guides. We have tested it in eight primary schools in Jamaica and three teachers' colleges," he disclosed.
Launched in 2007, the project, geared towards primary school students, seeks to enable them to become responsive to the changing nature of information in the society and the challenges of adjusting to a technologically influenced global village.
The forum was organised by the Torrington Park Action Youth Club (TPAYC), to educate community members on the purpose of the Commission, and to remind parents of the role they must play in monitoring media content their children have access to.
Formed in 2006, following an upsurge of violence in sections of the community, the TPAYC acts as a transformational tool and encourages unity among residents through sporting, educational and entertainment activities.
By Alecia Smith, JIS Reporter