Media literacy in the language of fairy tales

“Advances technology is wonderful, but sometimes we just need to help children to work with it and use it meaningfully, so that it enriches them, not harms them.” – Julia Cook, “The technology tail”.

Children’s literature on media literacy, digital security and privacy are not very common in Armenia, but it is vital to feel more secure in the media domain and to talk to children about complex topics in easy language.

Public Journalism Club with the support of the US Embassy in Armenia acquired the copyrights of the American bestseller fairy tales “Chicken Clicking”, “The technology tail” and “Once upon a time online”  within the framework of “Acting for Safer Online Environment: information literacy intervention for preschools” project and published them in Armenian.

Project coordinator Anna Mekhakyan with Arus Gasparyan, director of “Sisian Community No. 1 Preschool SNPO”

“Fairy tale characters talk to children about the positive and negative sides of the media. They teach to behave wisely in the media domain, to protect personal data and to avoid the traps hidden in the media,” says program coordinator Anna Mekhakyan. The books are for children from four to ten years old. In the fairy tales, they will also meet well-known heroes who have something new to say and present themselves to children from a different perspective.

From left to right, Amirah Ismail, the cultural affairs officer of the US Embassy in Armenia, Andranik Manukyan, the representative of the US Embassy in Armenia, Hasmik Melkonyan, the director of the library, at the central library named after Hovhannes Hovhannisyan in Etchmiadzin.

“Chicken Clicking”, “The technology tail” and “Once upon a time online” are fun stories about creating, consuming, and staying safe when traveling in the media world. In “Chicken Clicking” а  chicken breaks into a stranger’s house and finds a computer on the table, clicks endlessly, buys useless things, and on top of that, he gets to know another “chicken” through social networks and gives his personal data.

Sisian Community Library staff

In “Once upon a time online” the main characters Jack, the Red Riding Hood, the wolf, the Three Little Pigs, Cinderella, the fairy and even Rapunzel gather together. The laptop has entered the world of the fairy tale, allowing Jack and his friends to discover the good and bad sides of the online world. “The technology tail” is a conversation between a girl and a computer screen about the traces we leave in the digital world. It also contains useful tips for parents.

The books are not for sale, however they have already found their readers. The Public Journalism Club donated the books to all the children present at the events, as well as provided several copies to a number of kindergartens in the regions and Yerevan, including o the National Children’s Library named after Khnko Aper of Yerevan, the Central Library named after Hovhannes Hovhannisyan of Etchmiadzin, Sisian Community No. 1 Preschool SNPO”,  Sisian community library and Charentsavan “Hekiat” kindergarten.

“In corporation with “Heqiateren” interactive travelling puppet theatre “Chicken Clicking” a puppet show was created, which was staged 6 times in Gyumri, Sisian, Etchmiadzin and Charentsavan.”- added Anna Mekhakyan.

The presentation will soon be available to educators and parents as an educational video. The next edition of books will be distributed to the representatives of all the kindergartens participating in the seminars held within the framework of the program and to a number of libraries. The fairy tales have been translated and reached their little recipients, all that is left to do is to educate and bring up children who know the safety rules on the Internet and are media literate.

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