It’s time for our schools to consider a media literacy program | The new times


I’m not the most perfect parent, but imagine I’m like a lot of them in the digital age. When I hear children and misinformation mentioned in the same breath, I get anxious wondering how the internet might be influencing them.

The problem isn’t that you haven’t used proper parental controls on the computer they’re using. It’s that with so many sources of information online, it’s hard to sort out the facts from the half-truths or lies.

It is true that not all of our children and young people are online, but they are also impressionable and will at some point have to deal with the effects of misinformation that can corrupt a carefully nurtured worldview and values, inviting them to harm them.

This is a well-known problem and parents have their role, but not all have the knowledge or skills to effectively guide children on internet issues.

Then there are the teens and young people who think they know more than their parents but can’t tell if the blue checkmarks on an influencer’s name mean they’re trusted or not with the information she spits out.

So the question is, what information and media literacy structures do we have in place to better prepare children and young people to deal with information distortions in fake news?

I am thinking here of the school and the educational policy which anticipates an evolving society in order to equip citizens to flourish there.

It may be necessary to remember first that there are two types of fake news, misinformation and disinformation.

An example of misinformation might be that story you share thinking it’s true when it isn’t and therefore misleading. Although it may negatively impact the person receiving it, it was not intended to harm or manipulate.

Misinformation, on the other hand, is false information that is created and shared to deliberately harm or manipulate the person receiving it.

Fake news is promoted by spammers and trolls, politicians, even advertising agencies and governments, all of whom know well how the web works.

They are often aided by social media platforms that use artificial intelligence to amplify information, whether misleading and harmful or not, for profit.

Although there are tools that can be found on the Internet to help children deal with misinformation, they may not be adequate. It turns out that critical thinking does not help in the fight against misinformation.

According to digital literacy experts, the way we are taught from an early age to evaluate and think critically about information is fundamentally flawed and out of step with the chaos of today’s internet.

It is possible, as suggested in one formula, that a student can quickly verify whether an argument is true against traditional sources and determine whether the provider of the questioned information is a plausible authority.

Probably with the exception of some private schools, it is unlikely that our public schools have tried to adopt such formulas even when computer courses are offered.

Most of them still don’t have the Internet, while the vast majority of children have no way to connect at home or outside.

However, we are in the digital age and they will come online sooner or later as schools are modernized.

Meanwhile, even many of those who are already online are not sufficiently prepared to deal with the harmful aspects of the Internet.

While some young people are savvy enough online to deal with fake news, many others are not.

If not already considered, it is time our schools had a program in information and media literacy that will help them understand the social and economic contexts that influence how information is created and disseminated. .

Remember that fake news providers manipulate social and economic infrastructure and will become more sophisticated as the internet grows in complexity.

More than a simple formula, young people will therefore be better prepared if they are taught how traditional and new media such as the Internet work.

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