‘Fake news’ in children’s homework

children, education, family law

So-called ‘fake news’ is now regulary cited in children’s homework teachers have warned.

Although not a new phenomenon, the fabrication of apparent news stories to boost readership or score political points has become an increasingly practice in recent years as social networks increasingly dominate the delivery of media content, displacing ‘old media’ like newspapers and TV stations. Online traffic, however fleeting, has also come to be valued before veracity in many corners of the web.

The term ‘fake news’ is favourite accusation of recently elected American President Donald Trump.

Now, following a survey of members on the use of IT and social media, the National Assocation of Schoolmasters/ Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) reports that no less than 35 per cent say their pupils have quoted ‘fake news’ from the Internet in their homework or classroom discussions.

Such youngsters often cannot tell the difference between fabricated stories and real news, the teachers say. One member of the union explained:

“When questioned on how they know [it’s true] they say that it was on Facebook. Students often do not believe you when you tell them what they have seen [and] heard on Facebook is not true.”

Another teacher remembers:

“Some students did not attend school and hysteria ensued because they thought there were killer clowns roaming the streets with weapons”.

Union General Secretary Chris Keates said the finding was “worrying”.

“This demonstrates the great power that companies such as Facebook and Google now have in shaping public opinion, particularly among young people who have never known a world without internet and who are less equipped to analyse the information they see presented to them online and assess its plausibility.”

She added:

“It is important for children and young people to be made aware that not everything they see and read online is real.”

Photo by jacquelinetinney via Flickr

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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