Media Competence in Spanish Secondary School Students. Assessing Instrumental and Critical Thinking Skills in Digital Contexts

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Amor Pérez-Rodríguez
Agueda Delgado-Ponce
Pilar Marín-Mateos
Luis M. Romero-Rodríguez


Media competence, media literacy, secondary education, teaching/learning strategies, critical thinking, digital context


The ways in which young people communicate have changed in line with the impact of technologies. This change has been accompanied by growing differences between the young, and their “liquid” experience, and adults with their “solid” experience, and these shapes the state of the question that defines young people as digital natives. This work analyses Spanish adolescents’ level of media competence. The sample consisted of 672 students attending secondary schools in 10 provinces in Spain. The average age of the participants was 14. The study aims to show that, although today’s adolescents are described as the digital generation, and there is a widely held belief that they are digital natives, their level of media competence is low and there is need for fomenting greater literacy skills in this field. The ad hoc questionnaire yielded results that indicate an overall medium level of media competence, but a skills shortage in the dimensions relating to critical thinking, such as in reception and audience, production and programming processes, and ideology and values. The conclusions question the supposed superior competence of digital natives in media. This study underlines the need for a clear definition of the concept of media competence from a convergence perspective.


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