Media literacy

Google’s new media literacy program teaches kids how to spot misinformation and fake news – TechCrunch

Google announced this morning that it was expanding its two-year program on digital security and citizenship for children, “Be Internet Awesome”, to now include media literacy – in particular, the ability to identify self – saying “fake news” and other false content. The company is launching six new media literacy activities for the program that will help teach children about things like how to avoid a phishing attack, what bots are, how to verify information is credible, how to assess sources , how to identify misinformation online, spot fake URLs, and more.

The new media literacy courses – which some adults should also read to the end – were developed in collaboration with Anne Collier, executive director of The Net Safety Collaborative, and Faith Rogow, Ph.D., co-author of The Teacher’s Guide to Media Literacy and co-founder of the National Association for Media Literacy Education.

“We need the right tools and resources to help kids get the most out of technology, and while there are good digital security and citizenship resources for families, more can be done for it. media literacy, ”writes Amy Mascott, educator and founder of, in a Google blog post today. “I have worked alongside dozens of educators who believe media literacy is essential to security and citizenship in the digital age, but agree that it is a topic that can be difficult to cover.

Classes provide children not only with instruction, but also a combination of activities and discussion starters aimed at helping them develop critical thinking skills when it comes to finding resources online.

Its general theme, the course material explains, is to help children understand that the content they find online is not necessarily true or reliable – and it could even involve malicious efforts to steal their information or their knowledge. identity.

Children learn how phishing works, why it is a threat and how to avoid it. They then practice their anti-phishing skills by taking action and discussing reactions to suspicious texts, posts, friend requests, photos and emails online.

In the section on bots, they learn how AI works and compare and contrast talking to a bot versus talking to a human.

In the following sections on media literacy, children learn what a credible source is, how to determine the motivations of a source, and learn that “Just because a person is an expert on something does not matter. ‘she is an expert on everything’.

In a related classroom activity, children choose a question related to something they have seen online or are learning in class and try to get the answers online, while determining whether the sources are credible.

They also learn to check credible sources with other credible sources in order to research a variety of sources.

“If you can’t find a variety of credible sources that match the source you’re checking out, you shouldn’t believe that source,” the program explains.

In addition, children learn to spot fake news using clues such as deceptive URLs and to verify the credibility of sources. They are told that some people don’t know how to do this and share bogus information online, this is how it spreads.

“There are a lot of people and groups who are so passionate about what they believe that they twist the truth to make us agree with them. When twisted information is disguised as reporting, it is misinformation, ”the program says.

The kids are also told that some of the bogus news organizations are hard to spot because they use names that sound like they are real.

And the course explores various tricks used by some websites – like using pictures that have nothing to do with the story, using bait words like “shocking” or “outrageous” that they know make. curious people ”, using bold, underline, exclamation marks or ALL CAPITALS, to convince you to agree with them.

This section ends with an online game, Reality River, which asks children to use their best judgment to cross the river rapids. It happens in Interland, the game was developed to support Google’s digital security and citizenship program.

The overall goal of the media literacy course is to encourage children to make a habit of checking out all news and information, and not just what they think is suspicious.

Google says the new program is available online for teachers and families, and is offered in English, Spanish and eight other languages.

Google is partnering with the YMCA and the National PTA in several cities to also host online safety workshops.

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