Fact, Fiction, or Somewhere in Between: The Importance of News Literacy
As news about the coronavirus just keeps coming, the news cycle does, too. And since lots of kids get their news from social media, they can fall victim to clickbait, bots, deepfakes, and misused images. So can we.
Since we're all facing the use of these techniques on both sides of the political aisle, it's helpful to talk to kids about taking a skeptical—not cynical—approach. When a piece of news crosses your feed or a friend shares it directly, it's important to take a minute and evaluate the source and content. Because of filter bubbles, the news we encounter likely will confirm what we already believe, so we might be tempted to share it ourselves, but that's often how disinformation spreads. Often, a provocative headline paired with a shocking image is all it takes to get us to pass it along. But we need to resist and take a minute to go beyond those elements. Sometimes those images are actually taken from old incidents and reapplied to recent news, creating a combination of fact and fiction designed to get people fired up. Instead, we can model for kids how to take in the news with a critical eye and be ready to check other sources, do reverse image searches, or resist sharing because you're not ready to confirm whether it's true.