Kids and adults alike can be susceptible to believing false information online. Just because kids today are adept at learning the world of social media doesn’t mean they also know how to discern fact from fiction. In fact, kids often take what they see at face value, and with many getting their news only from social media, it’s imperative to teach them to be critical thinkers who can sniff out a bad source. Families can work together this political season and beyond to find the truth together with these tips in mind:
- When it comes to shared posts on social media, follow the post back to its primary source. If it can’t be traced back to a credible source, it likely can’t be trusted.
- Even if the source can be found, determine if it’s credible by considering whether there’s an author byline, if it includes quoted sources, how the source is funded, who manages the source and the transparency of its fact-checking process.
- Consider whether there is bias in a story based on the source. Bias doesn’t have to disqualify a source, but it does give the reader perspective. Readers should also consider whether their own beliefs affect how they receive the information.
- Seek out whether other known credible sources are reporting the same story or information. Click links within the story to determine if those other sources in fact corroborate the main story.
- Check publication dates, not the date it was posted, to determine if it’s relevant.
- Fact check through independent and nonpartisan sources like FactCheck.org, PolitiFact, Snopes or OpenSecrets.org.