The global pandemic caused by the new Corona virus has led to an exacerbation of the phenomenon of fake news, with worrying effects on everyone, but especially on children and young people who are at risk of being overexposed to information that can become a source of stress for them. A national consultation conducted by Save the Children Romania among children and young people aged between 12 and 19 revealed that, in the current context of COVID-19:
Sources of information
• News sites-49%
• Social networks/ Blogs-24%
• TV Shows-57%
• Parents talk-31%
Validation of the correctness of an information
• 49%- Sometimes,rarely or never check the veridicity of the information
• 67%-more sources
• 17% – consulting a known person
• 11%-official sources
The credibility of the source:
• 48% of the children know what fake news are
• 22% state that on TV and in news publications cannot be broadcasted fake news
The analysis was made throughout an online survey conducted between April 10 and 16, which was answered by a number of 819 children aged between 10 and 17 years from 32 counties and Bucharest.
How to recognize fake news:
• Do they cause a strong emotional reaction? Do they make you feel things like fear, disgust or rage?
• Do they make you feel special ?As if you had access to a piece of information not everyone knows about?
• Does the content facilitates people coming apart? Is the presented perspective “us” vs “them”?
• Do they seem sensational ,secret or urgent?
• Do you feel like not being able to stop yourself from watching or continuously seeking? Do you feel the impulse of buying?
• Does it practically sound too good to be true? Or perhaps too bad to be true?
What is fake news?
Fake news are articles or texts accompanied by images or videos, which have the deliberate purpose of misinforming and presenting the facts in a distorted way. The purpose of fake news can often fall into two intersecting categories:
• Financial profit – by attracting as many views as possible or asking for money directly from users justifying urgency, danger, authority, etc.
• Social influence – by trying to achieve changes at the social or political level by emphasizing the “us vs. them” perspective. Fake news is most often disseminated through the Internet and social networks, but sometimes it can also appear in the classic media (TV, radio, newspapers, etc.).
How can you check if a news story or content is fake?
• Check the title and text – Does it offer verdicts/punishments? Is it sensationalist? If the answer is yes, then it would be useful to look for how the news is presented on other sites or channels.
• Check the source – Are the author of the article and the organization they belong to easy to identify? Are they established journalists or accredited media outlets?
• Check the perspectives – Are all the points of view involved presented? Real news will be unbiased and will try to present the views of all parties involved in a situation.
• Check opinions – Does the author give his opinion? Journalists and news writers will not express your personal opinion about a situation. If the article becomes subjective, then it is good to remember that the information presented is an opinion, rather than a news story.
• Check the quotes – Does the original quote or statement exist within another source? Check if it is partial, out of context or complete. Actual news quotes other well-known news agencies, official websites, experienced entities or designated representatives of the authorities.
• Study the association of pictures or images with text. Do the pictures represent the action described in the text? The images used should be directly related to the information in the text. You can check if the picture still appears somewhere by uploading the image here
• Check date – Does the date appear? Is it current? Relevant information in 2018 may have a different interpretation in 2020.
Recommendations for students:
• Learn the signs that a news story is false! If the news is sensational, categorical or arouses emotions of fear, disgust or anger, there is a good chance that it is false news.
• Be skeptical about news sources. If it sounds too good or too bad to be true, it is good to question what you read or see on the internet.
• Approach your loved ones with confidence. If you are unsure of something you have seen or read online, turn to your parents or teachers with confidence. If the subject is one they may not know, look for the information in reliable official sources.
• Think before you share! Spreading false information can have negative consequences for others, so don’t spread information if you’re not sure.
• Check with specialists. Call your ORA DE NET friends with confidence if you want to check if a news story is true or false.
Author: Păunică Ana Renata- V A; photos taken from the http://www.salvaticopiii.ro
The original article is published in the school digital magazine Media Gener@tion