Mobile phones overtake television among children

Mobile phones overtake television among children

The First Children and Media Congress started on Thursday. The aim is to establish a child-friendly media and media reader… The determinant effect of the media on children is obvious. This was the main emphasis in keynote speeches. 

As the Chair of the Congress, Professor Haluk Yavuzer has carefully highlighted, this is essentially a civilian movement. For this reason the “Child Foundation” is the heart of this activity. However, the Congress was organized “under the auspices of” State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç. In his keynote speech Arınç said, “We are living in ‘the era of the screen’ and we have a ‘screen generation’ before us.”

“The screen generation” is indeed a meaningful description, because whatever the book is in written culture, the screen is its equivalent in visual culture. There is a screen wherever we turn our faces. At the roadside while in traffic, at the café-bar you step into, at the shopping mall you walk into, at the airport, etc…

Which one of these screens has a priority in our lives? The answer to this question was given by Head of the Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTÜK) Davut Dursun while he was explaining the research on “Media Usage Habits of Children in Turkey between the ages 6 and 18.” 

The usage of the cell phone has by far exceeded the usage of television among children. This indeed means that the television monitor is about to become history because the mobile phone also means the newspaper, radio, television, internet and social media. All of these are in the cell phone. Also the content that activates the mobile phone the most, in a wider sense the internet, is produced again for televisions. Serials, contests, show programs or video clips from them… Then, the television is the factory, and the mobile phone (including the internet) is the “market…” 

However, the most striking evaluation came from Professor Erol Nezih Orhon from Anadolu University. Orhon talked about several phases in the journey of humankind in literacy: First, there was the written-published “main” literacy, as we all know. Then came the audiovisual literacy. After that, digital literacy. And a more integrated and radical state of the last two phases: media literacy… Orhon emphasized that in European Union countries quite an alarming stage has been reached. In those countries where the digital has peaked, everybody has been saying “We want to go back to the main literacy.” 

Why do you think this is? Because literacy skills have withered away. Because, again from RTÜK data, we know that the habit of reading a book does not increase with age, on the contrary, it decreases. Yes, there is Facebook, SMS and twitter, but it is not possible to become “literate” with them.

So what, you may say. This is what happens: The radio, the cinema, the television, the computer, the internet, they are all creations of the humankind that have a written culture infrastructure… Reading, writing, interpretation, analysis, criticizing… When these do not exist at the depths, at the roots, in the blood, then you may surf as much as you wish on the internet, it has no value… 

How is that so apparent? We understand that from the information provided by the Head of the Child Foundation Mustafa Ruhi Şirin: Turkey is the first in the world in the usage of Facebook and Twitter. Do you know at which place it is in the category of understanding what one has read? Fourth from the last! 

Tayfun Atay is a columnist for daily Radikal in which this piece was published on Nov. 15. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.