Fake news as real news – quoted by children

An Irish News article states that “PUPILS are quoting fake news as fact in classrooms and written work, a poll of teachers has found.

More than a third of teachers said false information found online had been cited, according to a survey by the (National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers) NASUWT.”

This hardly seems like news, fake news has been cited by students, academics, and people in general for millennia. The advent of the internet, immediate news and the need for instant gratification has brought this phenomenon to the fore. The fact that its only 1/3rd is perhaps the most interesting fact. I would have guessed a higher percentage. The new US President and spread of the Russian fake news site

The new US President and spread of the Russian fake news site sparked a UK Parliamentary Inquiry. In January, an inquiry was launched into the impact of fake news in the UK. Member of Parliament Damian Collins called the phenomenon “a threat to democracy” that “undermines confidence in the media in general”. As part of the inquiry, MPs will investigate how people might be educated to “identify and assess” different news sources. Newsweek

The gradation of news, the dumbing down of the culture and acceptance by parents, educators, and the public at-large are the culprits. When one side chooses the fake news as fact and reports it as real the job of educators and others becomes doubly challenging. Teaching everyone to spot fake news and ignore it or report it to Facebook or other places that allow the proliferation are perhaps the only remedy. The question has to be asked, how do I unlearn something?

If parents believe the fake news and spread it as fact, how can educators undue the damage? Should they policing the information, should Facebook and Google as the largest websites in the western world be expected to police it? Should a government be involved and with the most powerful government spreading the fake news as gospel is it possible to police the proliferation?

So many questions and so little time remains for the children of today become the parents of tomorrow. The climate is in peril, human rights are in trouble, and fake news is big business.

 

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