Научная статья на тему 'Towards defining media socialization as a basis for digital society'

Towards defining media socialization as a basis for digital society Текст научной статьи по специальности «СМИ (медиа) и массовые коммуникации»

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Аннотация научной статьи по СМИ (медиа) и массовым коммуникациям, автор научной работы — Milenkova Valentina, Peicheva Dobrinka, Marinov Mario

The present article analyzes media socialization as one of the key factors for the formation of a digital society, involving the participation of individuals and communities. The objectives of the article are: to justify the impact of family educational institutions and community environments as contributing to the development of digital skills, attitudes and media literacy. The analysis is based on three rounds of European Social Survey (ESS) national representative surveys carried out in 2006, 2009, 2012/2013, and 2012/2013 that analyzes the participation of the Bulgarian population in the social and political life of the country. In addition, the results of empirical studies conducted at the South-West University “N.Rilski”, Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria for the period 2003-2017 are presented. The main conclusion of the article is that media socialization, based on media ecology information is important, because people acquire a clearer perspective as to how to evaluate a situation and to the increased opportunities for personal realization and development.

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Текст научной работы на тему «Towards defining media socialization as a basis for digital society»


Dr. Valentina Milenkova, Chair of Sociology Department, South-West University, Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria

E-mil: vmilenkova@swu.bg Dr. Dobrinka Peicheva, South-West University, Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria E-mail: peichevad@swu.bg Dr. Mario Marinov, South-West University, Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria E-mail: mario_marinov@swu.bg


Original article Received: June, 24.2018. Revised: July, 19.2018. Accepted: July, 30.2018. doi:10.5937/ijcrsee1802021M


316.776:004(497.2) 316.774(497.2)


socialization, media literacy, digital skills, family, education.


The present article analyzes media socialization as one of the key factors for the formation of a digital society, involving the participation of individuals and communities. The objectives of the article are: to justify the impact of family educational institutions and community environments as contributing to the development of digital skills, attitudes and media literacy. The analysis is based on three rounds of European Social Survey (ESS) -national representative surveys carried out in 2006, 2009, 2012/2013, and 2012/2013 that analyzes the participation of the Bulgarian population in the social and political life of the country. In addition, the results of empirical studies conducted at the South-West University "N. Rilski", Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria for the period 2003-2017 are presented. The main conclusion of the article is that media socialization, based on media ecology information is important, because people acquire a clearer perspective as to how to evaluate a situation and to the increased opportunities for personal realization and development.

© 2018 IJCRSEE. All rights reserved.


Individuals as social actors in the age of digitization interact with various social media on a daily basis. This interaction is achieved under the form of bilateral communication: on one hand the media socialize - inform, bring up, educate, advise; while on the other hand, individuals make their mark on social media via messages and images which they create, post and discuss.

Media socialization becomes a significant element of research interest through the development of information technologies - at the end of the second half of the 20th century and shows the importance of the media as a factor in education, upbringing and training (Frau-Meigs and Hibbard, 2016).

Corresponding Author

Dr. Valentina Milenkova, Chair of Sociology Department, South - West University, Blagoevgrad,

Bulgaria. E-mil: vmilenkova@swu.bg @©@©

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - NoDerivs 4.0. The article is published with Open Access at www.ijcrsee.com

The main thesis of the present article is that media socialization is an important factor for social inclusion and plays a fundamental role in the resurgence of civil society; because media socialization introduces in various networks and contacts through which the individuals interact, and which have influenced the achievements, results and mobility of the individuals.

At the same time, social capital is one of the objectives of socialization and it is very important because it contributes to independent critical perception and evaluation of the communities and media content; as well as the media themselves. The social capital promotes competent communication between people that make informed choices and puts the accent on the vitality of civil society, as well as on the ways and patterns of its manifestation. All that puts forward the necessity of studying the specific features of the social capital in today's digital society, as well as studying the ways of its improvement and especially the importance of social media as social capital mediators. The analysis of those two key concepts establishes particular aspects of the framework of the community activities dynamics in contemporary Bulgarian society,

because social capital follows specific parameters and patterns of connection between people.

The key idea of the present article is that social capital is the base of public activity, because it is founded on various contacts and nets in which individuals participate and those contribute to social coherence and human mutual activities. In that sense, social capital is a factor for the creation of collectivity, reflecting on the endorsement of professional and community involvement.

The study of media socialization „is about assessing the impact of media use and exposure on socialization process (Genner and Suss, 2017:1). Media play major role because they are main mechanisms of globalization and have their significant place in the world society, becoming a mediator of various relations and contacts. The diverse background of youngsters is one of the reasons why media and especially digital media become an environment for creating social abilities and skills. In this sense, social capital is the link between media socialization and the formation of culture associated with digital products and services distributed through a global network and building social experience and knowledge in a broader sense. Therefore, it can be said that depending on its structuring, organization and direction, based on its models of communication, social media are prerequisite of individual and group values, perceptions and views, attainments and participation in networks.

2. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK 2.1. Media socialization

Socialization is the process by which the human person perceives and internalizes in his/her life course the socio-cultural elements of the environment, integrating them into the structure of his personality under the influence of experience and significant others, adapting to the social relations in which the individual participates. Socialization should be seen as a process that extends over a person's entire life. The socialization process enables a person to form a sense of self and of his status in public structures. According to Parsons, socialization is the process of assimilation and internaliza-tion of roles from the social environment (Parsons and Bales, 1956). During socialization, the actor step by step absorbs both the explicit and behavioral standards of the social system as values, norms, attitudes, until they become internalized goals and self-effective motiva-

tors for action and personal thought.

Socialization can be defined as a type of social learning that occurs when a person interacts with other individuals. The acquisition of social experience creates preconditions for the inclusion of individuals in public relations and socialization is a process of comprehensive and consistent introduction of the individual in the objective world of a society or part of it (Berger and Luckman, 1991).

Agents of socialization are family, education, friend communities, professional environment, media.

Media socialization is related to the impact of media content on the individual, "duration of media usage and exposure, preferences for specific media genres and programming" (Genner and Suss, 2017: 1). It activates: the cognitive motivation and acquiring of new knowledge and skills; affective motivation oriented to achievement mood management; habitual motivation aimed at structuring the day; social motivation related to interactions (Genner and Suss, 2017).

The media contribute to internalization of the values, beliefs, and norms of group environment as well as they create values and subcultures providing new role models and motivating young people to follow and acquire it. In this way the media have a great impact, because they serve as a platform for ideas and people which youth deems important.

Media among other agents such as family, school, peers engaged in "primary socialization" covering the period of childhood and adolescence; but the media are involved in the formation of social consciousness and habits throughout the whole life of the individual. The socialization of personalities by the media is a process which achieves the formation of values, norms, attitudes of the individual and his interests, goals and awareness, and it can be said that the media participate in the shaping of the civil society and social involvements of different groups and communities. (Peicheva and Milenkova, 2017).

Media socialization involves all media that have various degrees of influence on groups and individuals. The media indeed are specific systems for the collection, creation, transmission and perception of information, images and symbols created by people and aimed at people. Through media contents, a person becomes more aware to the surrounding world, gains a better insight into the essence of things and phenomena, develops his/ her value system and establishes its social position in structures and relations. Today's

world is very complex and it varied with the media acting as an intermediary that helps to explore the reality.

In this sense, the media and especially the new media (social networks, blogs, chats etc.) becomes one of the main regulators of public relations. That's why the media can manipulate social communities, influence personal behavior and attitudes and it has a great contribution to the socializing process.

Social media open individuals to various cultures and understanding through different kind of interactions. Thus the media help people to learn, see and feel many things that happened in different places, give information about recent events almost instantaneously. Social networking sites allow the individual to communicate with people, helping the person be active. So we talk about mediatization of society, which means the interrelation between change in media and communication, on the one hand, and change in culture and society on the other (Livingstone, 2009; Polski, 2013; Grusec and Hastings, 2014; Poell, 2014; Grosswiler, 2016).

People are constantly surrounded by the media, which have the power to dictate how to learn about what is going on in the world, as well as how to appropriately interact with one another. The new environment requires the development of digital skills that enable effective information management and the proper use of ICT (Peicheva, Milenkova, et al 2017; Cartelli, 2013). Digitization, interactivity and virtuality are constantly opening up new possibilities and extending the boundaries of learning (Rosengren, 2014; Henriksen, 2011). "Mobile devices are emerging as one of the most promising technologies to support learning as they offer new opportunities that do not offer static devices" (Stosic and Bogdanovic, 2013).

Media connect people to various social institutions.Young people want to be seen as progressive in their environment and the media create the ideal image that says what characteristics must be formed in order to be suitable for the relevant social groups. They show who should be imitated, how this goal can be achieved, where to buy different things to achieve the likeness. Overall, the impact of the media varies and it is determined by many factors such as the content of messages, as well as the habits of the public, its erudition, readiness, maturity and emotional state. In this sense, the media are differentiated according to the audience. The impact broadly encompasses the processes of behavior and experience

of individuals within the reach of the media. The influence of the media creates phenomena that deserve serious analysis. There are various studies showing the impact of media usage on individuals, like violence and aggressive behavior in society (Lemish, 2015). The role of the environment is also determined as a decisive factor (Anderson, 2008). In this context essential element of media socialization are the significant others, the extent to which media messages break through the prism of group norms and rules in the relationship between the personality and society. (Peicheva, at al 2018).

The family is of great importance to media socialization, because parents are the ones from whom the children learn various aspects of the world, including the media; kids are informed for different sources of information thanks to their parents, and they receive access to various digital devices: computers, tablets, Internet, mobile phones. Namely parents are the people who may impose certain restrictions on the viewing of TV programs or usage of the Internet; and not only on what to watch, but as to how long. Thus, the children can be protected from a variety of negative effects associated with aggression, high anxiety, uncertainty and emotional discomfort related with them (Drotner et all, 2008). Parents are the ones with whom children can discuss a character, an event, a show or a movie viewed in the media as well as issues requiring further clarification, information or support from the parents.

During childhood, parents are the most important intermediaries in media socialization. Parents are the individuals who can provide the necessary cognitive and emotional balance to their children and in the later ages.

2.2. Media Literacy

Media literacy outlines a set of skills that are important in the new communication environment, abilities related to the search for information, participation in different networks, as well as the ability to create new knowledge; last but not least, are the ethical challenges relating to correct authorship, compliance, and the limits in which it can manifest itself The new media literacy facilitates the implementation of innovative approaches to decision making processes.

Media literacy is the ability to analyze and evaluate images, sound and messages that people receive on a daily basis through the

media. Media literacy is not only "the competence to understand the media, to analyze and assess their content, as well as to work with them and to create an adequate media message" Livingstone (2004) but to use them as means for innovations (Peicheva, at al 2018). The four components of Livingstone model (2004) - access, analysis, evaluation and content creation together constitute a skills-based approach to media literacy. Each component supports the others as part of a non-linear, dynamic learning process that opens up the possibility for new uses for the Internet and to an expanded access.

Livingstone (Livingstone, 2004) focused on:

- Historical and cultural aspects of the relationship between: Knowledge - media -training - education.

- The fact that the use of the media is a symbolic and material expression of the knowledge, culture and values of the person; their ability to analyze and handling of reality.

- The topic of media literacy, which is placed in the context of individual development.

Livingstone relates media literacy to all types of media - print, electronic and web-based. In this sense, media socialization assumes competencies and knowledge of all media and when we talk about Internet literacy, computer literacy, information literacy, we imply access and abilities for the analysis of the contents, evaluation and creation of new content in different types of media. It could be said that education and media literacy are in interaction and they are complementary, because the usage of digital media by the children from an early age contributes to their mental development due to the intensity of perceptions and it builds up their sensitivity to different topics that have both instructive and educational effect.

Another important element of the psychosocial development of children and adolescents is their imagination, which is important for learning and school activities. Media stimulate the development of the imagination as well as "the use of computers have effects on the creativity of children" (Stosic and Sto-sic, 2014).

In addition media have an important contribution to personal development associated with the creation of social networking, establishing friendships, and stimulating maturity and opening to the world.

Very often media and mainly Internet are the basic source of information for pre-

paring the classes and for the carrying out research tasks that are undertaken during different subjects at school or university; so the study processes which take place in the institutions of both formal and non-formal education are closely linked with the media. The process itself of cooperation between media and education and the strengthening role of media literacy as complementary educational processes is a subject of daily and systematic implementation and development in any particular educational situation.

Media literacy includes competencies that people should have for their social coping with digital technologies - not so much the technical aspects, but rather with their social aspects applied in new digital environment. Media literacy remains the framework within which the training activities across all levels are undertaken. Actually, we need to create a society where the participation across the digital environment is accessible to everyone, and to ensure the relevance of educational policies in modern conditions (Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions).


This article is based in empirical plan on several sociological surveys, used quantitative and qualitative methods, and covers the period 2003 - 2015 year.

- There is carried out the survey "Foreign students at SWU: training and motivation," in 2003 with team leader Dr. Maria Se-rafimova. The survey was included all foreign students at the university and has been studied 390 individuals. There was made a control group of 390 Bulgarian students (for comparison with foreign class-mates), the sample is representative for Bulgarians in the university. The method used was a questionnaire. Topics under the questionnaire include various aspects of the learning process, students' preparation for classes, communication students - lecturers, the digital environment and facilities for learning, motivation and values that students share. The quantitative method allows including students of different sex, nationality, with different interests, expectations, attitudes to training and education as a whole.

- The survey "Integration of social- psychological sciences in a globalized world" conducted in 2013 in South-West University

(SWU) with team leader prof.Valentina Milen-kova. There are used two methods: structured interviews and focus groups. The sample was unrepresentative included 290 students from various faculties of the university; the sample was made under experimental design scheme. The questionnaire included questions about the teaching methods, learning process, assessment methods and evaluation, digitization of education and digital culture of students. The other method used was a focus group. There were three focus groups carried out with students from Sociology, Psychology and Political Science specialties of SWU. In the focus groups, the discussion revealed on media literacy, forms of communication with teachers, based on digital processes.

- A survey "European Approach for public competency and participation in digital environment" was carried out in 2015 in SWU with team leader prof. Dobrinka Peicheva. The key topic was media education in Bulgarian context and its dimensions. This survey was a continuation of the International project "Media Education Policies in Europe" under the leadership of prof. Divina Frau Meygs, started in 2013; the purpose of the last one was to make Comparative Analysis of Media and Information Education Policies in Europe. The Bulgarian team included prof. D. Peicheva -coordinator, prof. V. Milenkova, Ph.D. student V. Nikolova.

The latest surveys of authors of this article we are referring to are in the frame of the projects D COST 01/13 in 2017-2018 co-funded by Bulgarian Scientific Research Fund and DN 05/11 14.12.2016 with team leader prof Dobrinka Peicheva

Each national study aimed at identifying why media literacy seems currently stalled or having difficulties in reaching national scale and scope. ANR TRANSLIT research suggested that computer literacy, needs to be evaluated as well, separately or in conjunction with the others.

- A survey „Cultural universals in academic environment" was carried out in 2015 at SWU with students from Social study specialties: Sociology, Political Sciences, Psychology; team leader prof. Valentina Milen-kova. Topic discussed in the focus groups are connected with the values that students share, communication, media literacy, digitization, significance of media environment as element of university system.

- European Social Survey in three rounds - 2006, 2009, and 2012/3 with Bulgarian respondents living in urban and rural re-

gions aged 1865 years. Data refer to different aspects of people's lives and their families: living conditions, economic and cultural capital, social support, cohesion and solidarity, family well-being.

The last two 2017-2018 studies on media ecology and e-reading highlight not only the significance of the new media literacy but also the consequences of its irrelevance in the contemporary digital environment.


The presented results are aimed at showing the importance of the media as a factor for the development of the social capital and the connectivity of individuals as well as their community activities in the new digital environment.

4.1. Media socialization and democracy

The media viability would depend on degrees of adoption and of inclination to participation in social processes through different types of activities: "viewing (listening to) political television (radio) broadcasts", "reading of newspapers". As whole, Bulgarian respondents (ESS - 2009 and 2013) are moderately active: in a working day, almost half of the sample (47.1%) in 2009 is viewing news and television broadcasts on political and current events "between half an hour and an hour and a half". Based on the data obtained, it can be said that in 2013 increased slightly the percentage of people who watch political programs (50.8%) than in 2009. Overall activities: "newspaper reading" and "listening to radio" show small accumulations (Table 1, percent).

Table 1. Time for newspapers, radio and TV news (broadcasts) in a working day_



TV pc- Viewing TV

iiticai political

brs-^d- broadcasts

casts (2013) (2009)

Listening to radio political broadcast


papers reading-"

No tirae =t all 6.5 11.6 12.4


thanl 2 25.5 IS.5 16.1 2S.S



frveen 1 2 arid 34.4 34.3 S.S 10.7

1 hi-ux


than 1 to 12.7 16.0 3.1 2.2

1.5 hi>ux

Mjo re

than 1 .J to 2 6.6 S.4 1.8 OJ



than 2 to 2.4 3.S 0.6 0.1

2.5 hi>ux

2.5 to 3 hi-UTG 1.1 2.2 0. 0.1


than j 2.2 6.1 1.5 0.1


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Don't lui :::■',V 4.3 3.1 55.4 45.0

Source: http://www.europeansocialsur-vey.org/data/country.html?c=bulgaria

1 This question was not included in the round 6th of ESS - 2013

2 This question was not included in the round 6th of ESS - 2013

In addition, we should point out the proportion of people (22.8% for 2009) who watched political broadcasts for ongoing events during workdays between 1.5 hours and 3 hours. This definitely is a low percentage of Bulgarians who are interested in political life. It bears repeating that, these are activities which are performed on a daily basis, it is worth to point out that there is a notable growing trend in accumulated viewings in 2013 (30.4%), compared to 2009. These results are indicative of the importance of the media in the political culture and awareness of Bulgarians for the formation of their citizenship; yet most important is that the media are valued as a reliable source for the creation of sociality in Bulgarian society. Media socialization contributes to democratization, it gives ordinary people power to participate in culture, politics, civil society; this view is contrary to the per-

ception of culture as elitist dividing and opposing. In this context we can view, the results of the non-representative survey "Integrating social sciences in globalizing world" conducted in 2013 by a team from South University where the questions of confidence in the institutions were raised.

Graph 1. The level of trust in social institutions: 1 - Parliament (14%); 2 - media (23.2%); 3 - government 12.7%; 4 - president (18.1%); 5 - I do not trust (31.6%); 2013 SWU project

It may be worth noting that the media have the highest level of confidence out of all institutions, and this is because people can choose the type of media, the nature of broadcasts and contents they receive. On the other hand, the essence of social media implies the development of active readers, creating media content, and the expression of opinions on various issues, which definitely makes the media an important source of socialization. In this sense, media literacy can be seen as an important part of the media socialization.

4.2. Media Socialization and Family

According to the European Social Survey (ESS) in 2013 Bulgarian young people continue to value family. From the data taken from 2013 ESS, 71 % of young people see their future as a part of a family according to their living plans. Almost 2/3 of the respondents indicate that they feel comfortable at home. That was displayed variables:

• Time spent with family;

• Sense of concern for the closest people;

• Forms of mutual assistance.

In addition, in contemporary Bulgarian family, the basic common activity is watching the TV (ESS, 2013). Television is an intermediary that strengthens family ties. This conclusion is confirmed by other studies (Genner and Suss, 2017).

In this regard, during the survey conducted in 2013 we set the following questions: "How often do you discuss with family and friends, information received from the me-

dia?" It can be witnessed that, time spend by young people with friends or relatives to discuss media contents is highly valued (Graph 2).

1 - Every day; 2 - Several times a week; 3 - Several times a month; 4 - Once a month; 5 - Less.

Graph 2. How often do you meet to discuss media contents with friends and relatives? 2013 SWU project

The results indicated that media contents (including social media) become the unifying center of relatives and friends because they are a source of topics as socially and personally. Media socialization is viewed through the eyes and opinions of the significant others who are a reference partner for reflection, assessment and exchange of information.

Family is important, because it is a source of support and positive energy. It creates a feeling of belonging and entity.

It is impressive that the respondents are conscious of the necessity of contacts, for discussing media information with friends and relatives. They stick to that regime of proximity and communication, they support social relations' rhythm and they consider that it as important. As a whole, contacts within parental and friendly communities contribute to freely developing discourse, bringing strength to democracy. Interpersonal confidence is very tangible, creating a fundament to human coherence, for which media socialization has also contributed.

4.3. Media socialization in the context of education

Media socialization is a purposeful process which in its purest form takes place in an education institutional environment in which the implementation of informational technologies is a key element.

According to a survey conducted in 2013, the students say that digital media definitely contribute to their educational achievements (Graph 3).

Graph 3. Importance of digital media for the university education, 2013 SWU project.

On the other hand, there is the reverse process - the higher the education of the individual is, the more often he resorts to the usage of the media as a source of information and development. Modernization in education is aimed at „achieving (1) functional and (2) multi-dimensional literacy of learners, defined as: (1) ability to use knowledge and skills from key cognitive domains to solve problematic situations and (2) an ability that is the basis for participation in the digital society and making informed choices on issues in a high-tech environment" (Dermendjieva and Dyankova, 2018).

So media socialization is related to education, it acts as an incentive to develop other qualities that are valued in the educational environment and systematic digital media socialization depends on education and its condition (Velickovic and Stosic, 2016).

Education has a key role for increasing personal chances; it is a necessary and important condition for taking a professional position and media competency, as education is a form of investment in better qualification and level of knowledge.

Education is important in personal and social plan, because, people with higher education are:

• More critical

• More open to changes

• More disposed to improvement

• Better professionals

• They have ambitious to enhance their qualification

• They have more knowledge for the world and social situation

• They find jobs easier and their incomes are higher than those of the other.

• They have higher political involvement and responsibility.

Higher education implies higher involvement toward media content, in terms of its assimilation, analysis, evaluation and creation of new content. In this sense, higher education creates critical media users who do

not succumb to the manipulation of media and its impact. In addition, we examine survey results, conducted at the South-West University (SWU), Bulgaria, showing students' access to the Internet, as well as the specifics of ICT at university. The students are the most appropriate age group being mobile and able to respond to environmental changes, a part of which are computers. These changes are needed because computer literacy has become an important part of qualification requirements and are connected with successful professional realization. It is necessity to note that the South-West University curricula offers education for the most informational' specialties and computer technologies. At the same time the access to Internet is a basic condition required to improve the quality of education and to sustain active communication - between students and professors (through e-mails, chats, blogs, face book etc.). One of the main reasons for fast growth of the importance of computers in educational communication is the fact that this is the cheapest and the most effective way to contact with students, colleagues, friends, and peers.

In the carried out in 2003 sociological survey approximately 2/3 of all foreign students educated at SWU had access to computers (64.9%) and to Internet (65.6%). The situation with Bulgarian students is identical: 66.1% of all respondents had access to computers and 58.1% had access to Internet. The accumulation of respondents in two groups is indicative for the presence of available conditions for education as well as for the fact that the whole educational process can develop in accordance with the contemporary tendencies in modern higher education.

Twelve years later in 2015 , the data about the access to Internet is quite different due to the increase of computers as a part of the university policy to acquire and enhance computers' meaning in university space and guarantee full access to them. The university library, with the readings' halls, computers halls, and laboratories become a part of the university interior. That means that there is a constant access to computers and Internet for students. In addition, above 89% of all students have personal laptops. The access to computers and Internet for several years has become a compulsory prerequisite for quality study process and in this direction the SWU guarantees to students appropriate environment and conditions. The computers and access to Internet have real significance only if they support the study process as an improve-

ment in conditions. The basic concept in this aspect is: giving and discussing homework and essays, requiring additional students' deliverances, and supporting lecturer-student networks. An important part of the whole process of new forms of modern communication is for students familiarize themselves with Internet publications and materials.

So, the interest of young people towards education is increasing because the sources of information are enhanced, and the real education process is being modernized.

According to students, the participation in group discussions, the using of computers and Internet influences on the specific aspects required of people to participate in the knowledge and information based society that demands creating skills for lifelong learning and constantly improving individual qualification, knowledge and competencies.

In the survey were carried out three focus groups with students from social studies specialties. During the conducted focus groups various aspects of digital literacy were discussed including:

- Computer literacy related to: the use of computer programs for word processing, for generating spreadsheets, presentations, photos, images, graphics; use of databases;

- Internet literacy related to: internet access, which search engines are used, what information is extracted, using your email, social networks, blogs and websites related to the preparation during individual disciplines;

- Information literacy associated with: knowledge and use of separate library information resources on the Web;

- Independent thinking regarding: how to analyze, interpret and critically evaluate information; extraction of new knowledge; understanding of the ethical aspects of networking and the Internet.


It can be highlighted that, in terms of computer literacy, university students are highly knowledgeable. In all subjects studied, the preparation of presentations using the resources of the various computer programs for the generation of tables, pictures and images is widely included; the students know and use computer tools for word processing and are able to create and format documents.

- Internet literacy is also high. Students daily access the Internet; use e-mail, participate in social networks, mainly Facebook,

have profiles; read websites and blogs, in many cases, however, these activities are not related to training and academic preparation but are connected to personal pursuits and personal contacts, communicating with friends, entertainment, download movies and more.

- Information literacy of students is underdeveloped; mainly this refers to the knowing of the capabilities for the use of electronic publications - books, encyclopedias, journals; but they are not always used. Students do not know the library information resources in the network, and do not know the electronic library of the University.

- Independent and critical thinking - this is the least developed part of literacy of students. A very minor part of respondents critically analyze what they read; they are nearly lacking in the ability to compare different sources; they find it difficult to summarize and digest what they have read; they do not think about the ethical aspect of things and copyright infringement on the Internet.

From all this we can conclude that computer and Internet literacy of students from SWU is very high, but at the same time, it does not find a serious enough space in the formation of independent thinking and both critical and analytical skills. Often students take for granted the information Internet sources without making additional inquiries; also, it can be noted as part of their behavior on the Internet, is that the way they conduct themselves stands out as one devoid of an ethical approach, which is rather disappointing, given the academic values of university. Moreover, it is not enough to have a high-level ICT environment, access to the Internet, it is important to reflect on how digital media literacy can be actively used in school work and how students can become more team oriented.


The following basic issues, connected with the significance of education can be brought out, that media socialization is an important and crucial issue as far as individuals of all ages are associated with digitization. From early childhood and schoolchildren, use various media - computer, tablet, smartphone, internet, that become a basic part of the environment: family and school. Media socialization relates to the family, to the way children perceive the digital environment through their parents, to the way children understand the meaning of different media contents. Educa-

tion and teachers have the same role. Digital tools are becoming essential basis for education - school and university. Media literacy is a prerequisite for the full use of the digital resources of the educational process.

It is very important that school and family complement their educative intentions and actions, knowledge appropriated by social media, and attitudes towards them are of great importance to education and its impact. Media socialization becomes equally important in academic terms because information technologies are at the foundation of effective learning, independent thinking and all major key competencies of the 21st century (Digital Agenda for Europe).

Technology and media socialization are important for lifelong learning, because through them it becomes possible to integrate long-distance learning, which allows access to learning content at any time and from different points in the social space (West and Turner, 2014). LLL is in close contact with media socialization because individuals constantly improve their skills, knowledge, learn independently or in an organized environment new things, namely media appear that an important prerequisite for improving their lives. Media socialization is also an integral part of leisure time; it is related to entertainment, to the contacts of people of different ages, to the establishment of new acquaintances. Media socialization is also related to the profession of individuals. Based on media ecology information it is a prerequisite for getting adequate information and for relevant professional developments. Media socialization is important because it is used to develop skills for the searching of media ecology information for independent interpretation of information, participation in networks, critical attitude towards the world and life, to the solving of practical problems. Media socialization is important, because people acquire a clearer perspective as to how to evaluate a situation and to the increased opportunities for realization and development. In this way, we can summarize that media socialization related to media ecology information is of great importance to modern people.


The article has been developed in the framework of the research projects No DN 05/11/14.12.2016 & D COST 01/13/ 04.08.2017 by Bulgarian Fund of Scientific


Conflict of interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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