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The Dark Side of Media and Technology

A 21st Century Guide to Media and Technological Literacy

Edited By Edward Downs

The Dark Side of Media and Technology: A 21st Century Guide to Media and Technological Literacy is Herculean in its effort to survey for landmines in a rapidly changing media landscape. The book identifies four dark outcomes related to media and technology use in the 21st century, and balances the dark side with four points of light that are the keys to taking ownership of a media- and technology-saturated world. The text contains an impressive list of multi-disciplinary experts and cutting-edge researchers who approach 25 separate dark side issues with concise, highly readable chapters, replete with unique recommendations for navigating our mediated present and future.

The Dark Side of Media and Technology is grounded in theory and current research, but possesses an appeal similar to a page-turning dystopian novel; as a result, this volume should be of interest to scholars, students, and curious lay-readers alike. It should be the "go-to" text for anyone who is interested in learning what the research says about how we use media and technology, as well as how media and technology use us.

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Chapter Twenty-Five: A Light in the Dark: How Literacy Illuminates the Dark Side (Edward Downs)


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A Light in the Dark

How Literacy Illuminates the Dark Side


Don’t believe everything that you read on the Internet.


Well, here we are at the beginning of the last chapter. Hopefully, this means that you, the reader, has perused through the rest of the book. If not, no worries! Maybe you were just excited to get to the media and technological literacy part, and that’s fine, too. For those who have read through from beginning to end, it may seem odd that a media and technological literacy book closes with this topic, and a critical reader might be inclined to ask: “Why?” As with many lessons from the classroom and in life, what matters most is how you apply the materials and knowledge that you have gained moving forward. The twenty-four chapters preceding this have given a number of examples in which principles of media and technological literacy were applied. For those who have already been on the path, this book can serve as a checkpoint from which to advance to the next stage. Consider this a final lesson, given to facilitate the journey as you move forward on your own path of media and technological literacy.

So, what does it mean to be media and technologically literate in the 21st century? It is not hyperbole to write that millions of people around the...

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