How to Spot Fake News
Our awareness of fake news has been heightened in the last couple of years, but often we’re not even aware that it’s fake. Almost universal access to computers, smartphones, and social media mean that YouTube, Instagram and Facebook are used — knowingly or not — to propagate false and misleading stories. Because children get much of their news from social media sources, they are most vulnerable. 39% of children prefer online media as their news sources and fake news is often believed. 31% of children have discovered later that a news story they shared on social media was fake.
Common Sense Media explains how to identify fake news and help kids get smarter about it as well.
Two of the tips Common Sense offers:
- URLs that end with “.co” or other unusual site names maybe fake sites trying to look legitimate.
- Fact-checking sites, such as Snopes, can help sort the fact from the fiction.
You might be surprised by the kinds of stories that Snopes has tackled. Did you hear the one about home invaders using rubber bands in a new ploy to enter homes. There was no evidence to support the story, but it nonetheless went viral, and we’re sure some homeowners were actually concerned about the issue. If something seems too good, or bad, or just too weird to be true, it’s a good idea to Fact-check it.
Kids also say that reading the news makes them feel smart and knowledgeable. Fact-checking it might make them feel even more so. This piece is definitely worth a read for parents and educators.