CHARLOTTE, N.C. (NBC News) — Students today face a complex information landscape.
Studies show children spend hours each day online but struggle to evaluate the content they see.
“In order to really understand the world we live in today, we need to understand media,” says Michelle Ciulla Lipkin of the National Association for Media Literacy Education.
Advocates say educational curriculums have not kept up with changes in technology, and efforts are growing to implement media literacy education in schools and teach kids the skills needed to tell fact from fiction.
“They’re a muscle that needs to be used over and over again, Ciulla Lipkin says. “It’s so important and so vital to start skill building at an early age.”
Organizations like the News Literacy Project provide lessons and virtual classrooms, already used by thousands of educators nationwide.
The movement started getting traction after the 2016 election, which brought attention to how easily misinformation can spread online.
Tech giants like Facebook and Google have added features to combat the problem as well, but many say that’s not enough.
“Media literacy education has to be a national priority,” Ciulla Lipkin says. “Our democracy depends on it.”
State lawmakers in four states have already passed bills calling on public school systems to do more to teach media literacy skills, and several more are expected to introduce legislation this year.