If you want to figure out how the latest gadgets work or how to navigate Snapchat, Instagram or any one of the many social media sites, just ask a young person. I’m sure, if you’re of the baby boomer generation like me, you’ve had the experience of being totally technologically challenged by the latest state-of-the-art phone or tablet. We didn’t grow up with all of these electronics like today’s tweens, teens and millennials do.
But while young people — teens in particular — might be extremely tech savvy when it comes to a matter of surfing the web or operating a phone or tablet, getting a handle on what’s being fed to them via those same media is another story.
They still need help when it comes to discerning the information in this advanced, ever-changing information age, especially when it comes to real news, fake news and commercial content. So says a study by Stanford University, which is motivating one lawmaker to push for media literacy courses at the grade school and high school levels.
“The rise of fake and misleading news is deeply concerning. Even more concerning is the lack of education provided to ensure people can distinguish between what’s fake and what’s not,” said State Senator Bill Dodd, a Democrat from California.
Dodd is hoping media literacy will soon become part of the curriculum in California schools. His measure has cleared a key education committee vote. In his efforts to get the media literacy courses approved, Dodd continues to refer to the Stanford study that showed that youth, for the most part, are “duped by sponsored content and don’t always recognize the political bias of social messages.” The study authors say the results of their research should be yet one more media influence wake-up call not only for educators but for parents as well.
“Many people assume that because young people are fluent in social media they are equally perceptive about what they find there. Our work shows the opposite to be true,” said Sam Wineburg, the lead author of the Stanford report.
Continue Reading at OSV Newsweekly.