According to the Associated Press, schools nationwide are introducing new curriculum to help students identify real news vs. fake news.
The report said now, more than ever, students are susceptible to said fake news on the internet and through social media.
“It’s kind of crazy,” 17-year-old Hannah Mercer told the AP, “to think about how much it’s affecting people and swaying their opinions. It all comes through the same medium of your cellphone or your computer, so it’s very easy to blur the lines and not have a clear distinction of what’s real and what’s fake.”
While the AP, Facebook, and Factcheck.org are working together to weed out fake news sites, teachers and professors are introducing new courses to their curriculum to do their part, as well.
“I think only education can solve this problem,” said Pat Winters Lauro, a professor at Kean University. “It hasn’t been a difficult topic to teach in terms of material because there’s so much going on out there. But it’s difficult in terms of politics because we have such a divided country and the students are divided, too, on their beliefs. I’m afraid sometimes that they think I’m being political when really I’m just talking about journalistic standards for facts and verification, and they look at it like ‘Oh, you’re anti-this or -that.'”
According to the AP, teachers and professors are guiding their students to fact-checking sites like Snopes, as well as telling them to use common sense when a story seems questionable.
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“The biggest challenge that I have whenever I try to teach kids about questionable content on the web is convincing them that there is such a thing as questionable content on the web,” North Carolina teacher Bill Ferriter said.
Another fear students and professors have is the growing trend of public figures dismissing anything “unfavorable,” in their opinion, as fake news.
“When people start to distrust all news sources is when people in power are just allowed to do whatever they want,” Katie Peter told the AP, “and that’s very scary.”
H/T: Associated Press
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