Finding reliable information on the web – Students are bombarded by deceptive, misleading and sensationalized information. Junk food, gambling, harmful advice, and harmful products are normalized through pervasive marketing in games, apps, and websites. As children use technology, we can help them be aware of these influences and develop life-long skills to make informed decisions.
To support your child in finding reliable information on the internet, discuss the following strategies with them:
- Be skeptical, not cynical. No source is a hundred percent unbiased or reliable, but there are sources that are mostly reliable and that work to overcome their own biases.
- Listen to your gut, but don’t trust it. If your instinct tells you something is or isn’t trustworthy, that’s a good place to start, but you still need to double check.
- Think about why you want to believe or disbelieve something. Pay attention to how something is trying to make you feel. Be especially careful with stories that make you angry or that you really want to believe are true.
- Go to the original source before fact-checking. We’re more likely to trust information if it comes from someone we trust, like a friend or a relative, but it’s hard to know if something is true or not until you find out where it first came from. Check bylines and follow hyperlinks until you get to the original source.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel. Before doing your own fact-checking, see if someone else already has verified the information. Hoax-busting sites like Snopes.com can save you a lot of time.
From Media Smarts: Canada’s Centre for Digital and Media Literacy: Reality Check Guide – How to Tell Fact from Fake Online