ISSN: 1550-7521

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Research Article Open Access

Digital Media Literacy: Social Media Use for News Consumption among Teenagers in Pakistan

Abstract

The emergence of next generation users has reshaped the use and impact of internet in our society. Now users can access internet from multiple devices (Smartphone, PC/Laptops, Tab/Pad etc.) and multiple locations. This phenomenon among teenagers has increased as they engage with media devices at both home and schools. Pew Internet and American Life Project reported in 2015 that 71% teenagers use multiple social media sites and 92% are daily internet users. Teenagers can create social media account at the age of 13 to socialize, and to access information and news. Thus, social media plays an effective role in online news consumption that has reshaped the usage and production of news media. One of the major challenges for social networks appeared after 2016 US presidential elections was “Fake News”, and it associates with elections, terrorism and natural disasters. Apprehensions about the factual and potential social impact of fake news lead to this study about news practices and experiences in Pakistani teenagers. This study focuses on how teenagers identify fake news on social networks and their news practices and experiences on social media. Teenagers are unable to spot fake news as they are less likely to check the source of information that raised a major concern about their ability to deal with fake news. This study confirms that teenagers are less likely to check source of news, as they are also not capable of identifying fake news. Teenagers consider internet and social media as their major source of information. These findings highlight the importance and significance of digital media literacy education at school level to combat new media challenges. Results further demonstrate that social media and news consumption has been neglected in media literacy education in Pakistan. This study provides policy implications to government for the introduction of digital media literacy at schools and college level.

Nosharwan Arbab Abbasi and Dianlin Huang

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