Finland’s Media Literacy Week highlighted the relationship between media use and well-being

Finland’s Media Literacy Week took place in the second week of February. This year, a record 70 partner organisations participated by publishing materials, articles, and organising events and communications on media skills. More than 1800 people took part in the Week, who in turn promote media skills for children, young people and for example adults at risk of social exclusion or senior citizens. Once again, participants came from all over the country, from South to the northernmost communities, from Åland Islands in the West to small communities in the East. The activities were varied and, judging by the social media posts, fun and imaginative.  

The relationship between media use and well-being

The theme of the year was well-being, which was reflected in the themes of many of the media literacy materials produced for the week and also in many articles in the Mediataito online magazine. The related articles cover topics ranging from the School Health Survey to romance scams. Materials are also available in English, you can find them here.

The National Audiovisual Institute published the results of a survey on media use by adolescents and young adults. The data revealed some interesting findings when media use experiences were compared with respondents’ assessment of their family or personal financial situation. Young people living in low-income households are more likely than others to have negative experiences with their smartphones. These include hate speech, low self-esteem and, for example, unwise purchasing decisions.  

The knowledge base for media education was also strengthened by the results of an interview survey on young people’s media use published by the Mannerheim Child Welfare Association during Media Literacy Week. They show that the internet is an important place for young people to strengthen friendships, but many also face bullying and harassment, experiences of being an outsider, loneliness and online addiction. 35% of young people would like to reduce their internet use, but do not feel able to do so. Young people had an important message for adults: they expect adults and service providers to play an active role, set limits and show an interest.

AI in a media literacy perspective

AI emerged as the second theme of the year, both in the themes of the events and in the pedagogical materials. These included a very extensive learning package on the subject published by the Finnish Broadcasting Corporation Yle and a day of experimentation and fun with AI organised by the Tampere Postal Museum. All materials are still available in the Media Week materials bank.  

The online parents’ evening was discussed at home

KAVI, Save the Children and MLL continued the tradition of the online parents’ evening. This year’s keynote speaker was Erika Maksniemi, who talked about her recent dissertation “Good bad social media”.  She brought a lot of research-based information to the discussion. Other speakers were experts in media education from KAVI, Save the Children and MLL, and the talks covered topics such as gaming and online sexual violence. All the presentations can be viewed as recordings on the playlist in YouTube (in Finnish).

Feedback from parents was very good, and we heard from several participants how the evening had been eye-opening and that the topics had been discussed with young people at home. The 725 people who signed up for the parents’ evening already reflect the need to address these issues.  

Critical literacy, safety and security skills are considered important topics

Every year, we collect feedback from participants in Media Literacy Week to learn which events and materials have been particularly useful and how the Week could be improved. We also ask participants what they consider to be important topics in media education. Responses highlighted critical literacy and safe use of the internet. Practising safety skills with children is also considered very important. Emotional skills, social media and respecting age limits were also mentioned in several responses. Among the new media phenomena, AI literacy emerged, as did an understanding of the impact of algorithms and deepfake. 

On the other hand, many respondents pointed out how media use can also be approached with joy and enthusiasm, and discover ways to express themselves and their ideas. 

The Mediataitokoulu.fi service offers a range of materials to support at least some of the media skills named above. Both the Mediataitokoulu.fi website and the content of the Media Literacy Week 2025 will be developed based on the wishes of the participants. 

More information on Media Literacy Week:

Leena Pylkkö, Communications Planner, KAVI

Illustration: Maria Vilja