• Jorge M. Reyes

Are Young People Being Misinformed or Are They Just Too Gullible?

Fake news has always been a major cause of worry and muddle. Not only does it spread easily, especially in the technological era we find ourselves in, but it will very likely revolve around a very controversial and high-profile topic, bringing a lot of recognition to said act of deception; the U.S. elections, for instance, were a popular topic among ‘fake-news writers’. Interesting enough, these media of misinformation are likely to never leave, while they are one of the most popular and convenient ways for an individual to attack someone else.


Moreover, young people are starting to catch up with this, but not really in an efficient way. They are spending hours upon hours online, which although it might affect the functionality of the brain and other aspects of it, its true and dangerous effect is the avalanche of ideas, opinions, facts, images, and very contrasting messages that makes them doubt and overthink of what truly can and cannot be trusted.


A small group of reporters conducted a study at Cardinal Wiseman school, and it proved every theory that the crew had. The teenagers were shown three articles and were asked to determine which of them was fake, real, and a little bit of both.


They were able to analyze and ask all the questions an adult would ask themselves when reading an article. “Does the headline seem plausible? Do I know the publisher? Is there anything about the presentation of this article that looks suspicious?”-BBC News. Among others. They were able to think it through and make every question they needed but we're still getting wrong conclusions, as more of them got wrong answers when asked to classify each article. Now, this does not mean that they are of an inferior mental capacity or less bright than other generations, but it does raise an alarm on the spreading of fake news; it is more concerning when thinking about how much information teenagers nowadays consume when compared to last generations.


So, with the increasing concern, this might bring for many educational institutions, teaching things as news literacy might truly be worth it; students might be extremely good at many other fields such as logic and reasoning, but if done under the spotlight of misinformation, then they will lose all kind of validation and truthfulness. So, although the rise of fake news might be related partly to the naive way of thinking many youngsters find themselves with, it is also related to the system of education they might be presented with. We should keep alarmed and raise awareness of this!


 

Sources:

Rajan, A. (2017, October 19) Fake News: a teenage dilemma. BBC News. Retrieved from:

https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-41665814 Satariano, A. (2020, September 20)


Young People More Likely to Believe Virus Misinformation, Study Says. The New York Times. Retrieved from: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/23/technology/young-people-more-likely-to-believe virus-misinformation-study-says.html

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