Online media literacy strategy aims to help young people navigate misinformation


The UK government has released a strategy to help young people spot disinformation online, part of a larger effort to improve media literacy and make the internet a safer place for children.

The strategy [PDF] will involve training teachers, library staff, youth workers and caregivers to help young people detect misinformation, including how to critically analyze the content they consume. According to a National Literacy Trust study, only 2% of children have developed enough critical thinking skills to detect misinformation online.

The concerns are not limited to children; the coronavirus pandemic has inspired a wave of dangerous disinformation and disinformation, including lies about vaccines, 5G technology and the origins of the virus. These lies have led to arson attacks and the harassment of telecom and healthcare workers.

Digital Minister Oliver Dowden has spoken out against the real harm to consumers caused by disinformation. He wrote in a statement, “We want people to be able to make informed and safer decisions online, to get the most of all the good the Internet has to offer. This strategy is part of our plan to get there by supporting the education and empowerment of all internet users with the key skills and knowledge they need to be safe online – you could call it a code of the internet. Green cross for the Internet.

“We want users to be able to critically assess the content they consume, understand that online actions can have consequences offline, and be able to contribute to a respectful and caring online environment. “

The white paper on online mischief committed the government to develop an online media education strategy before the implementation of the Internet regulator, integrated into Ofcom.

The media literary strategy will be supported by £ 340,000 in the first year, during which an online media literacy task force – made up of tech platforms, civil society and academics – will be created. Over 170 organizations already exist to provide media education in the UK. The working group will assess how best to improve media literacy among young people and coordinate the media literacy landscape in the UK. The strategy identified a number of key challenges for media literacy, including hard-to-reach audiences, vulnerable users, and building resilience to disinformation.

Areas of interest will be: data and privacy; online environment; information consumption; online consequences and online engagement.

“False or confused information disseminated online could threaten public safety and undermine our democracy,” said Minister of Digital and Culture Caroline Dinenage, during the launch of the strategy at the Battersea Library. “We are legislating to make tech platforms more responsible for this, but people still need the right skills to distinguish fact from fiction online.

“Through the Media Literacy Strategy, we will channel the efforts of dedicated UK organizations and fight fake news by making the online community young, vulnerable and larger, more resilient and resilient. “

Vicki Shotbolt, CEO of online safety site Parent Zone, said the strategy was an important step in protecting children online: “In a world where school, social, work and family life are increasingly being lived Online, having the right skills and knowledge is essential ensuring that all parents and children can explore all that the online world has to offer with confidence and security.

Shout Out UK, which offers media and political education training, welcomed the release of the strategy: in the gaps. We are particularly interested to see how the strategy will be implemented in schools, where young people spend a significant part of their time, as well as how the strategy can foster a four-way collaboration between DfE, DCMS, schools. and civil society organizations.

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