What can I still believe?

A video shows the former US president Richard Nixon as he earnestly looks into the camera. He announces to the people of the United States that the Apollo 11 lunar mission has failed: “Destiny has decided that the men who flew to the moon with peaceful intentions will stay on the moon to rest in peace.” Hold on a second – something isn’t right here!

It’s all fake

In reality, Apollo 11 was of course the first successful moon landing. The video of Nixon is a “deep fake” – a video in which people’s faces are transposed and their voices overlaid. In this way, you can have people say and do whatever you want them to – and even change history. The fake video of President Nixon was shared by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2020 on the 51st anniversary of the successful moon landing. The institute’s researchers wanted to highlight everything you can do today with deep fake videos. After all, fake content like this can have drastic knock-on effects. There are lots of opportunities on the internet for us to be influenced, such as deep fakes, fake news, and social bots. And it’s not easy to identify them. We need to learn to not only read the news itself, but to pay attention to other things as well: Who is the sender? Is the source reputable? In a nutshell, we need media literacy. However, this involves more than just distinguishing between “true” and “false”. For instance, we need to know how to navigate the internet, protect our data from unauthorized access, and avoid posting anything that could be misused by others. In short, we need the skills to ensure that the internet enriches our everyday lives instead of being a burden.

Peace, justice, and strong institutions

Our measures support the 16th goal of the United Nations Agenda 2030.

Making sure everyone can #TAKEPART

Media literacy is key to being able to use digital media with confidence and skill. Yet media literacy alone is not enough. We want to ensure that everyone can #TAKEPART on the web. As we see it, this means the internet has to be a space in which everyone can feel equally safe and where we coexist on the basis of democratic principles.

Barbara Costanzo, Vice President for Group Social Engagement

“As a society, we cannot afford to leave people behind on the road to the digital future. That’s why we are promoting media literacy among children, young people, and adults of all ages through various projects and initiatives.”

#TAKEPART stories from the digital world

How do bots and algorithms actually influence my opinion? We answer this question and many others on our #TAKEPART stories site. Under the headings “Digital Democracy” and “Digital Civil Courage”, the focus is on how our opinions are influenced on the internet and the best way to shield ourselves from this. The #TAKEPART stories initiative is not just about fake news, however. It also highlights a string of other current issues relating to our everyday digital life. For example, it sets out to answer questions such as: How can I protect myself against online harassment and marginalization? What opportunities and risks does the internet present in terms of democracy? Where does hate rear its ugly head on gaming platforms, and why? Our #TAKEPART stories are full of practical tips. Opinion leaders can find guidelines and materials for workshops to suit all ages. That way, no one already has to be an expert before they can engage with and discuss digital issues. The materials are available in English, German, and simplified German language versions.

All aboard

We are working to build media literacy skills in the population. In 2021, we reached around 370 million media contacts in Germany alone, and some 3.85 million people took part in workshops examining this topic that were organized either by us or by opinion leaders.

Some examples from Germany and Europe:

1
Media, sure!
But secure

Our “Media, sure! But secure.” website provides a platform for our initiatives to improve media literacy and carries our #GoodMagenta label for socially sustainable offerings.

2
Teachtoday

Our multi-award-winning „Teachtoday“ initiative supports children and young people, parents and grandparents, and teaching professionals with practical tips and materials. Among other things, the platform provides a toolbox with over 120 educational formats for nine- to sixteen-year-olds.

3
SCROLLER

The “SCROLLER“ children’s media magazine is geared specifically to children aged nine to twelve to improve their media literacy. Topics are presented in an age-appropriate manner. For example, the “Gaming: Keeping it fun” section focuses on digital games and the values they impart.

4
#TAKEPART stories

Our #TAKEPART stories dealing with digital topics have created a platform for extending our reach by providing materials that people who aren’t experts themselves can use to organize workshops and group activities. We currently offer materials for events of various durations in 12 different topic areas – in English, German, and simplified German language versions.

5
ConnectedKids

The ConnectedKids project initiated in Austria by Magenta Telekom in 2013 primarily supports schools that are lacking the necessary digital infrastructure. Tablets, mobile internet, digital know-how, and teaching expertise help schools lay a foundation for the digital future in the classroom.

Stop by and join in

In 2020, we launched Magenta Moon, a media literacy events program that puts “digital education” and “digital civil courage” center stage. In 2021, our Equal eSports Festival focused on diversity, e-sports, and gaming. The festival included a panel discussion about hate speech and toxicity, and saying no to online hate, plus a workshop to help parents choose age-appropriate computer games and give them some media education tips.

abschalten

Just take some time out

Let’s be honest – was grabbing your smartphone the first thing you did this morning? Nowadays, we hardly notice just how much digital content we actually consume. And through this consumption, we are giving our devices a great deal of power over us. Our “We Care” magazine shows you how you can easily switch off. Find out more.

Don’t forget to turn it off

Children of the eighties and nineties may recall that, at the end of every “Löwenzahn” (Dandelion) TV show, Peter Lustig asked them to turn off the TV and go outside to play. As adults today, our smartphones are always in our pockets – and for many of us, it’s very hard to switch them off. One consequence: researchers have discovered that the “smartphone generation” spends less and less time with their partners – for fear of missing out. For us, media literacy therefore means not only learning to use the internet critically and competently, but also knowing when it’s better to give the smartphone a break. In the worst-case scenario, we could otherwise be risking digital burnout. Experts therefore recommend keeping a constant eye on how, and how much, we use our smartphones. Besides a digital detox, during which they go for long periods without using their phones – on vacation, for instance – many people also take digital timeouts on an everyday basis. Even simply taking a walk – naturally, without your smartphone – can work wonders. What’s more, a change of scene and some fresh air stimulate creativity. Little resolutions such as banning phones in your bedroom or taking a break from social media on certain days also help break bad habits. In this way, you can normalize your digital communication behavior – and leave yourself more time to spend with your partner.

Responsibility is key

Our various media literacy projects and initiatives share a common goal – to help people feel confident and secure in using digital media. For us, that means doing everything possible to ensure that data entrusted to us is in safe hands – and that children and young people are protected from unsuitable content. And last but not least: The basic prerequisite for media literacy is that everyone has fast access to the internet. For a number of years now, we have been investing huge sums in expanding the network for this very reason.

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