Why Students are Getting "Faked Out" By Fake News

Media literacy has been at the forefront of the news recently and rightly so. Over the past few months, fake news has infiltrated the media through various outlets, but especially through social media. And who are the biggest users of social media? You’ve got it. Kids.

This wouldn’t be a problem if kids knew how to decipher what news is real, and what is not. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as one would think to peg fake news, especially when we have a President-Elect who not only believes fake news, but gives it credibility by either re-tweeting, re-posting, or discussing it publicly. But if kids knew what to look for, how to research it, and how to guarantee its validity – fake news wouldn’t be a problem at all…most of these stories would be laughable to those who are media literate.

A recent NPR article on this topic notes, “researchers at Stanford's Graduate School of Education have spent more than a year evaluating how well students across the country can evaluate online sources of information.” Their results were described as "dismaying," "bleak" and "[a] threat to democracy."

Frightening and disheartening as it may be, it IS possible to fix this dilemma.

Adults, and even most college and high school students, weren’t taught media literacy when

they were younger, so while I’m not giving them a pass, it’s easy to understand how fake news can spread and how some can find ridiculous “news” stories believable.