Fake news has become rampant in today’s media. In that, the media, news reporters, and news sites have become biased in their reportage. News reporters and sites easily mislead and misinform their audience into believing things that are not factual. It has become a canker society is battling with. It is, therefore, important to increase our knowledge as well as create an awareness of the importance of digital literacy.
Marwick and Lewis in their book, Media Manipulation and Misinformation Online, explores in depth the vices in media and their effect on society. They discuss specifically how media manipulation leads to acts like internet trolls, gamergates, hate groups, conspiracy theories, among others. Perpetrators of these acts are mostly bloggers, influencers and political groups who hide behind websites and mainstream social media accounts to misinform and deceive people, which leads to distrust in the media.
Thus, for us to be safe online, it is necessary to teach our students digital literacy from a younger age to prevent them from being victims of this canker. Teaching our younger ones to be critical of every news and news site will help raise a generation of critical thinkers. They will not just challenge what they read but also flash out unreliable sources.
In a post by Dr. Curos and Hildebrandt, they discuss four key strategies that educators can teach to help students combat fake news. I will adopt these strategies in my classroom to help promote high critical thinking skills in my students. This will help create an awareness of online behaviour. I will further support this practice with position statements and guides from the NCTE framework to help students understand more about digital literacy.
In summary, there are several resources and tools that can help develop and improve our digital literacy. It is, therefore, important to help our younger generation build a healthy online life before they get drawn into some of these conspiracy theories.
Additional resources for teaching digital literacy
Tools for flashing fake news