The spread of fake news on the Internet
According to a recent study, Singaporeans who have come across fake news did so on social media, with 50 percent on WhatsApp and with 46 percent doing so on Facebook.
How to teach children to spot the fake news that hangs around the web? Teaching everyone, even you would be good! It is impressive to see the number of false information that is shared by our friends and colleagues on Facebook.
Our parents had access to only a few sources of information: the local newspaper and the major dailies. Kids have Internet today! The Internet contains a vast amount of information with its share of conspiracy theory of all kinds. Theories of conspiracy are exaggerated most of the time, but a few can be revealed truth. Since the explosion of the internet and especially on Facebook which facilitates the proliferation of information, the problem is mainly the diffuser of the information itself. Consequently, distinguishing between a media site and a journalistic site is difficult.
Is it fake news?
Websites can easily propagate false information notably entertainment media. Indeed, some sites like to publish sensational headlines to create the buzz even if the information is not reliable. Did you notice that it is often the less familiar with the news people who are being fooled by the fake news? It is our role to explain to these persons, principally children, how to recognize real information.
After alerting children about the reliability of the information and explaining how to check it out, help them decipher the news. Besides, if you feel they have misunderstood information they hear about every day on their smartphone or television, if they ask themselves questions about a particular topic (North Korea, Trump…), you have to present them the information clearly. Also if a topic seems to you particularly sensitive because it concerns them directly encourage them to ask questions.
You child can spot more easily fake news thanks to these 3 questions. If the answer is yes for one of these questions, he has to check if the information is related to serious and well-known media:
- “Does the website’s URL look unusual, or have any odd suffixes or substitution?”
- “Are the headline sensationalized or unrealistic?”
- “Does the headline or picture match what’s written in the article?”
Your kid is now ready to face this new challenge! Some schools in Europe provide courses of fast checking to spot fake news. Should our schools do the same?
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