When Facebook was created, we were happy because we could connect to our far-flung friends. We were happy because we could post pictures and videos of little moments that made up who we ware. We were happy because we could meet other people living in the other side of the world. When Facebook and other Social Networking Sites (SNSs) were created, we haven’t foreseen the dangers that would also emerge—and one of these is what we have always heard nowadays is fake news.
True it is that SNSs did not absolutely created these ‘alternative truths’ but because of the absence of gatekeeping and the limitless exponential power of this technology, fake news spreads like wildfire. There are names and groups that other people accused of propagating fake news in our society like Rappler and Mocha Uson. However, our government has taken little action to stop this social malady. I think pointing our fingers will never be enough. We have to do concrete actions that will teach people that fake news will never be right.
In 50 states of US and other 69 countries, spotting fake news has been taught to students. They have special activities that teach children how to discover if an information is correct or not.
There are various ways how we can teach is skill to our students. One is through talking about current events or issues about our country before or after the lesson proper, or if there is spare time, or even integrating this in your activities or class discussions. In that way, they can be aware of what is happening around them through their teachers, than them just merely seeing faulty and vague news in the social media.
Second, we can actually give them a practicum about spotting fake news. We can give them a sample news article from Facebook and let them verify if the news is true or not. By doing such, they can learn how to decipher articles through themselves, and not be gullible to the content the world throws around.
Teaching children to spot fake news is essential because it also develops their critical thinking skills. Teaching children critical thinking skill is crucial because it will help them in their later years. It will help them understand things holistically, weigh things properly, and decide and take a stand.
And more importantly, critical thinking will create more responsible mass media consumers who will utilize mass media content properly and effectively.