Media Literacy Education

Teaching Children to be Skeptical Online

It seems as though there's an incredible amount of false information online today. Even things that are obviously jokes can sometimes be shared as though it's true. Raising critical thinking adults means starting with critical thinking children, which makes media literacy education so important. Here are ways to teach kids to be skeptical online.

Start With the Hallmarks of Fiction

Show children what parody and satire is, and how to identify parody and satire. The easiest way is to show children examples, and ask them why it's obvious that something is fake—what is it about it that's funny? What absurdity is the piece calling into question?

Show Children How to Research

Children need to know how to fact-check something they read, and they have to be encouraged to do so. When children see a claim in the news, on Facebook, or elsewhere, they should know how to look the information up.

Media Literacy Education

From the beginning, children have to be exposed to the basic principles of media literacy. In schools, children should be taught to differentiate between good and bad resources, and how to ensure that their resources are accurate.

Teaching children to be skeptical online is only one part of teaching overall literacy. If you're interested in learning more about how we approach media literacy education, contact Cyber Civics.

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Finalist for the Project Tomorrow/OC Tech Alliance "Innovation in Education" Award.

2017 "Media Literacy Teacher" Award from NAMLE