In the Dynamic Identity workshops participants – (young) adolescents – are asked to draw a Selfie that should never come into existence. The Selfie may only concern the way they look, their surroundings/ context or may concern both.
As can we expected quite a few girls – and boys – drew themselves with a bad hair-day or just after waking up. Some, on the other hand drew themselves on a naturist beach or at a funeral. But over one-third of all participants drew themselves in a situation of violence, war or, more concretely, in front of a crashed plane – sometimes specifically the MH17 – the Malaysian Airlines airplane that was downed when flying over east Ukraine, or with Islamic State beheadings at the background.
One might argue that this was a provocative response by the participants involved but quite a few of them explicitly requested whether their drawings could be destroyed after the workshop session – or simply destroyed them themselves.
A few times a provocative drawing was indeed produced – a self-portrait of themselves as Hitler for instance – but this was always accompanied with shy probings whether this was OK and whther there would be no consequences. None of these provocative drawings were ever shown by the particpants involved to the workshop group as a whole.
The external settings did not seem to evoke provocation, rather contemplation.
While media education specialists seem to focus on the dangers of the Internet maybe we need to reconsider the essence of media education. Shouldn’t media education start with providing instrumens to make sense of the world around us and not leave youngsters with these ultraviolent images without reflection?