Do any of these images ring familiar? Strike maybe, a nerve or two? Maybe not? But if you have discovered that you are a bothered or feel overwhelmed by the thought of sorting through so much information through news and social media outlets then maybe you are a Highly Sensitive Person or, an HSP. For the Highly Sensitive Person, (HSP) these images are familiar and not fondly so (Aron, 2019).
The HSP makes up a small percentage of individuals. Interestingly, common themes are seen in the personality and overall disposition of an HSP. Aron (2019), explains how conscientiousness and sensitivities to a variety of situations from relationship matters to loud noises, are examples (Aron, 2019). Digital media is among one of many context that may overstimulate the HSP depending on the delivery of the content, as one matter of discussion.
Digital Media Literacy is almost this live and learn lesson, literally, it seems most hold the mindset that when it comes to learning the ins and outs of technology, no matter the platform, it is like the ‘white elephant’ in the room. Do we talk about it, or do we ride it out, these may be the questions some parents ask themselves? Or what about the adult learners considering a job in a highly automated profession that for example leans heavily on data that most adult learners would not know how to interpret to inform professional practice and especially in a learning environment.
In most learning settings, being a digitally literate citizen (ISTE Standard) is a prerequisite, there is no longer a paper application to mail in or paperback textbooks for your college course. But digital media literacy is not just knowing “how” to use technology either or having documents online and sent electronically; it is also asking questions about the information, or decoding. Being a literate citizen of digital media requires inquiry, thinking critically, and being conscientious about the responsibility right within our fingertips (Project Look Sharp, 2022).
Decoding information can be done in a variety of ways whether through analysis in questions asked not for the answer but for inquiry, to think critically. Or how about asking how the message makes you feel, what effect does the information have on you? Lastly, not exclusive but for the sake of the time, how is this message constructed to trigger a certain emotion or reaction from the audience. Just a few examples of ways for the HSP to counteract the manipulated constructs of digital media (Project Look Sharp, 2022).
According to the ISTE Standards, Knowledge Constructors, will “critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others.” (ISTE, Standard 1:3, n.d.). Therefore, then, self-awareness and awareness of the nuances of media, how it is constructed, the intended message, and so much more are important considerations for the HSP especially but as a learner in a digital world. The HSP must guard against overstimulation or, cognitive overload (Jong, 2009).
What is cognitive overload?
Cognitive overload is when too many cognitive processes are operating at lower levels rather than operating with fewer at higher levels (Gallagan, 2013). For example, if you there is too much text on the screen this can create cognitive overload. Consequently, hindering working memory where knowledge is no longer constructed. Remembering that cognitive overload impacts the workings of actual knowledge attainment and working memory (Springer, p. 23, 2013) is important to the HSP and educators of potential HSP’s.
Practical tips for educators. If we recall, media constructs information to influence the reader depending on the intent or motive of the creator (Project Look Sharp). Thus, one way to avoid cognitive overload is to design learning material differently. Construct digital media, with room left for the HSP learner to explore ways to decode and break down all the information. Furthermore, create curriculum that respects different learners. An example of this for the HSP would be pressured in a classroom setting, while being watched by peers or evaluators to perform certain activities but with background noise of their peers talking and giggling. This would be cognitive overload and lessen the learning experience for the HSP (Springer, p. 22, 2013).
Practical tips for the HSP when navigating digital media:
- Decoding with questions – check out this handy resource.
- Think critically, stop, calm down and then take in the information one bite at a time (Technology & the Interrupted Brain).
- Limit the amount of media intake in all formats but especially digitally (Aron, 2017).
Finally, think on what Aristotle said about learning,
Aron, Elizabeth. (2017). The Highly Sensitive Person. Broadway Books.
Galagan, Pat. (2013). Technology and the Interrupted Brain. cqtus-Technology_and_the_Interrupted.pdf
International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). ISTE Standards. ISTE Standards: Educators | ISTE
Jong, Ton de. (2009). Cognitive Load Theory, Education Research, and instructional design: some food for thought. de Jong Cognitive Load (1).pdf
Project Look Sharp (2022). Categories and Samples Questions for Media Decoding. Key-Questions-for-Decoding Dec-21.pdf
Day 5 in my new officially official 😊 house in St. Ann’s Parish, Jamaica. The smells of burning at nights and in the morning are just as familiar as the coffee churning every morning in downtown Jacksonville from the Maxwell House coffee plant. The coffee smells each morning from the Hubbard Street house were only supplemental to the lovely smells of my own coffee percolating. And occasionally as we are still quite close to the main highway here in Jamaica, I hear fast cars and bikes racing by and big Mack trucks blowing by with their steam powered horns that get your immediate attention no matter what you are doing. The frogs that lull me to sleep at night with the cool “winter” breeze (about 72 at night with mid percentages of humidity) are one of my favorite parts of Jamaica.
The cool breeze runs through the house. I can see the leaves of the mango trees blowing in the wind; they remind me of home, like home, my cousins, especially David, he loved mangoes… I can remember family dinners when we were little, the cool evening Florida breeze as we wreaked havoc through the streets of north St. Pete with our hide-n-go-seek and cops and robbers games. Jamaica is like home.
Then there is the money system, the injustice, the economics, the rat race, and on the macro level remnants of years of wanting more for its country as it slightly eludes the Jamaican people each time.
She is an example of the Jamaican heart, the Jamaican way. I am so excited to learn the culture more and more each day. I enjoyed our walk to town yesterday for the first time alone – two white girls with our carmel skin and curls, hearing whistle after whistle and “pst” after “pst,” nonetheless, there is respect. No harm, just enjoying what they see. People are complicated enough already…
But when you add other characteristics of Jamaica, like culture you see something very cool! The teacher in me must explain “culture” a bit further. Culture happens on different levels. There is our immediate family culture (what we experienced and learned from those in our immediate home). Community culture, your neighborhood and other family members and close friends, perhaps. Work culture is developed within professions but more influential would likely be the culture experienced with specific employers. Finally, and only to serve as a brief explanation of the ways that culture influences, the final level of culture would be your place of birth. The country you call home. The place that has formed the parts of you that make your people group different than another.
Jamaica is quite different from America. America may be accused of lacking culture, it is not particularly distinct in culture like Jamaica, and has been called a melting pot – various people groups contributing to the diversity of the “United” States of America by adopting various cultures. This is very different from more collectivist countries like Jamaica. In my experience, this can make assimilating challenging. People are people… people change, assimilate, evolve, and yet still there spans a bridge that connects all of humanity no matter how different. At least that is what I have discovered so far in my travels. And that is love – at the end of the day we have all the same needs – being known and knowing.
As I spoke with a special person last night, under the stars, literally! We talked about what matters and keeps a relationship. He asked what I believe keeps a relationship together. My answer was textbook A+++, “Love and Respect, of course,” I said, with complete confidence he would agree. He di, but, he his point was the first one. Love! Of course, and I do believe that love can and will indeed conquer all! Yet somehow, I felt so shallow and unlovable to give such an answer, because the words are easy, living it is another, especially when loving requires sacrifice.
In a world where inequities reign, and where often the greater of two evils must be chosen, there still can remain the simplicity of loving your neighbor. May we all have the same fighting spirit as the little old Jamaican lady welcoming us to Jamaica!
My high school friend calls the other day explaining that she caught her eleven year old in his room looking at pornography online. I nearly busted out laughing but of course in my grandiose kindness I decided not to, although it probably would have been fine at this point in our lives. I expressed empathy and that for me it was really difficult to accept, when I stumbled across a similar situation, which immediately opened the floodgates of a very long discussion of what to do and all that mom, parent stuff that is very boring I promise. Unless of course, you are experiencing this same thing, if so please check out other posts that may be useful in my blog.
Back to friend, she is hysterical at this point, blaming herself, and that she isn’t a man, and has no idea what to do and so on. We began discussing digital medical literacy skills, or should I say, I began discussing such skills because at that time she was not excited about such tasks that she would be responsible for even though “we didn’t sign up for this.”
She knows me quite well, so our conversation went something like this, “well honey, you just took my phrase, what do you need me for?” We continued our conversation about a variety of ways to protect him, hold him accountable and discuss this current event that will likely not be the last. Why, because we must continue to teach our children to be literate and savvy when it comes to media in all forms and the intent of the content even more important, and even more important, how to navigate the digital world we live in (Creative Commons, 2017).
The mind map below gives you an idea, and this is by far no where inclusive of all the forms of digital media to instruct young people on.
With school age children, like the 10 year old above, parents must step up. For those whose hands are already in the messy game of pre-teen/young teen rearing years, keep making the connections between the evil side of digital media and how it relates to their “real life.” Media in various forms intends to persuade and use their audience to exploit and often times, “media messages can range from overt statements to vague expressions of cultural values…and that the United States—in contrast to other nations where media are held in check—has encouraged an independent commercial press and thus given the powers of propaganda and persuasion to the public (Starr, 2004)” (Creative Commons, 2017).
Yet like any form of communication the impression, viewpoint, feeling toward communication, whether true or not, good or bad, can result in communication that hurts or helps, that provides useful information or uses deception to create fear, and is a form of bullying.
Bullying remains and will likely remain a way for those hurting to attempt to channel their anger towards those who serve a victim role. These roles can be interchangeable and formed in the home – victimizer or victim. Put well, being a victim is commonly seen as the antecedent to becoming victimizer (U.S.D.O.J. website).
As we shift our focus and understanding to the role we each play in our realm of influence, we must take into consideration the shift in media and the ways media has influenced society throughout the decades, how the roles have changed, and who has the real power.
First, to begin, the real power can rest in the parents hands, we can use our hands to build our house as an old Proverb puts it rather than our hands tear it down. Take a look at some of the differences today (Creative Commons, 2017).
For example, and put well by Jolls & WIlson (2014), “we shifted from ’talk about media’ to ‘experience production’ with tape recorders), printers, varied tools” (p.), to now, and in comparison, there is a matrix, literally, of information at our fingertips.
Then: Interactive Experience
Now: Digital Media Skills a Must
Practically speaking the dominant role that digital media has on society and culture is here to stay. The power and influence will continue to evolve and will look different with respect to each people group and government or agency. Second, in comparison to the former role of media, as a more interactive experience, rather, digital medial, especially, requires less interaction and is completely dependent on the end user.
In today’s digital age you can be whatever role you want. In the case of my friends son, this momma just needs to know here stuff and be literate but also provide the instruction and information her son needs to make logical decisions that consider others and himself, whatever that would like for that family.
Theoretically, parents spend the most time with their child/children and have more opportunity for “teachable moments” than do educators, especially on a one-on-one basis (Scheibe & Rogow, 2011). Certainly, we are familiar with the idea, teachable moments help learners see the connection between the logical and the humanity. They are moments you grab when they happen, and in that very moment, teach the value, moral, characteristic or personal life lesson that connects to the way the learner is influenced by media, and especially social forms. of media that our young peoples’ fingers touch everyday, all day! Catch them when they are 10!
Parents: What Role Will You Play ❓
Literacy in digital media is no longer an option for parents; and in my professional and personal opinion any community member, as much as it depends on us, and when presented with a teachable moment. In conclusion, it is clear that we are imperfectly perfect parents for our given child/children in whatever capacity. In fact, we did sign up for this, we signed up for this when we became Mom or Dad, respectively. If you were wondering about my friend and her son, her son is a successful, married, father who survived the teen years and his digitally illiterate mother. In conclusion, the call to action is what role will you play?
B.A.D. Media. You Tube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCpDyEtoWgY&list=LL&index=10
Jolls, T., & Wilson, C. (2014). The Core Concepts: Fundamental to Media Literacy Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 6(2), 68-78. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.uri.edu/jmle/vol6/iss2/6
Scheibe, C. L., & Rogow, F. (2011). The teacher’s guide to media literacy: Critical thinking in a multimedia world. SAGE Publications.
United States Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs. https://www.ojp.gov/ncjrs/virtual-library/abstracts/interchangeable-roles-victim-and-victimizer