The Need to Disconnect to Promote Digital Media Literacy


Prior to the world wide web, the barriers to produce and distribute content were rather high providing some form of media control (Giroux & McLaren, 1994).

The #Disconnect Campaign

A campaign to counter this problem is to promote civic engagement could be achieved through disconnecting from online interactions for specific periods of time (Mihailidis, 2018). Today’s society the interactions with technology and online activities are necessary and as a result the campaign is not about preventing or even stopping them; it’s about creating a sense of moderation of these online activities and resuscitating more traditional forms of interaction in the hopes of reengaging notions of empathy which we are deem as a notion of re-humanizing.


Today’s concept of a good citizen participating in civic engagement is not enough (Mihailidis & Thevenin, Media Literacy as a Core Competency for Engaged Citizenship in Participatory Democracy, 2013). We’ve seen individuals who live relativity normal lives; having educated, employed, voting, paying taxes, obey the laws (Loader, 2007). We’ve also seen those individuals move into new forms of civic engagement with blogging, citizen reporting, participating in online campaigns, etc. (Dalton, 2009). But there’s no refection if the civic engagement is positive in nature nor any frameworks or other tools to indicate how to even measure it. Based on empirical observations, we’ve seen that the notions prescribed by media literacy campaigns coupled with the push for civic engagement have led to the growth of more negative interactions (Boyd, 2017) and the move to online forms of engagement has only intensified this. With nefarious actors pushing the use of fake news and its acknowledgement on mainstream media (Caplan, 2018), the notion of civic engagement is especially in the online space is in chaos and its unclear if the overall impact is improving.


Boyd, D. (2017, Jan 5). Did Media Literacy Backfire. Retrieved from Data & Society Research Institute: