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Improving critical thinking among the youth through media literacy games

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Interactive games have become a powerful tool to increase media literacy among individuals, especially young people. The Supporting Independent Media and Information Resilience (SIMIR) in Moldova partners, Superlike and Centrul Media pentru Tineri (CMT), involved hundreds of children and teenagers with interactive games to develop their ability to think critically and identify accurate information.

Moldova, like many other countries, faces challenges related to media manipulation, disinformation, and propaganda. Media games can serve as a valuable tool to counteract propaganda and increase media literacy among the population. Between November 2022 and September 2023, the European Union-funded SIMIR project conducted the “Communities Respond to Disinformation” Grants Program, which supported community activities that help the public improve their critical thinking skills and abilities in identifying disinformation or propaganda.

Among the six awarded grantees were Superlike and CMT, which focused on engaging youth in interactive activities to learn about the media environment and how to navigate it efficiently and safely. Their respective initiatives – updating the media literacy board game Media Jungle (Superlike) and the media literacy educational game Media Quiz (CMT) – covered all 32 districts of the Republic of Moldova through 70 game sessions conducted in regional schools, in both Romanian and Russian languages. One of the primary benefits of interactive games like Media Jungle and Media Quiz is their ability to engage users in the learning process actively. Rather than passively consuming information, players become active participants, making decisions, solving problems, and exploring virtual environments. This interactivity promotes a hands-on learning experience that can significantly enhance media literacy.

“Media Jungle is a game that captured my attention and sparked my curiosity to learn new things. My first impression of the game was very positive. The game addresses a wide range of questions related to various social media platforms, messaging apps, and media propaganda. Throughout the game, I learned many things about applications, manipulation, and fake news. Media Jungle taught us to be critical, responsible, and aware of the influence of media on us and society. Through the Media Jungle game, we have an interactive and fun way to explore topics such as misinformation and information manipulation,” said Victoria Gubciac, Media Jungle Ambassador.

“I imagined Media Quiz like a ‘What? Where? When?’ [a popular TV game] where we have to answer questions about media education, and the game part ‘Who Stole the Billion?’ is a unique experience, full of interesting quests combined with media education knowledge. I was impressed by the mentors during the training and the ways they managed to capture my attention throughout the instruction! Thank you, CMT, for the productive two and a half hours! Looking forward to more,” said a participant at the Media Quiz.

In total, 1,333 children and teens, including 874 girls and 459 boys participated in the game sessions, expressing their motivation to learn more about the implications and effects of media.