In an online world where we are constantly bombarded by news and information, it’s often difficult to steer clear of fake info, fake reports, and fake news stories. How do you know which news stories are fake and which aren’t? And, most importantly, how do you shield your children from this? The simplest solution to this is to ask the right questions when you’re fishing for news. Also, tell your children to do the same thing. There are also steps you can take to ensure you never fall into the ‘fake news’ trap.
Questions You Should Ask When Spotting Fake News
Naturally one of the first questions that needs to be answered is: How do you get your news?
The logical next step, and the next question is: Which social media page shared the news? What’s the source of their information?
Next thing you should be asking is: Why are even people concerned about fakes news?
Another thing is to define the term ‘fake news’ and establish exactly what it means. You should also be aware what keywords or better still terms or words are in the news to begin with. Try to bear in mind that fake news stories exist for one purpose – to benefit and promote a certain cause, individual, organization, or publication (or all of the above). That’s probably the best and most eloquent way to define it.
Let’s go beyond the basics, now, and ask more useful questions that can educate your children to help them discern legit news stories from fake ones. Some of the most important questions are as follows:
– Are you shocked when you discover that any of the sites you visit have fake news?
– If you unknowingly shared the fake story, what was the result and impact of that share? Did people approve or disapprove, comment? How did they react in general to the story?
– If you realized the news sites you visited are fake, what actions would you take to avoid potential harm that can easily come from misinformation?
Best and Easiest Ways to Spot Fake News
Check the author: Take the time to see if the author is a real person; and you can do this by finding other pieces written by the same person and who they wrote for. If they did not publish anywhere else, treat their words and their story with caution, and think twice before believing it.
Utilize Google Reverse Image Search: This is a pretty useful tool. You can search Google by images, as opposed to using words. Just upload an image to the Google Reverse Image Search site and then you’ll see every site page that has similar images. That way you tell if those images were previously used and, of course, if they were used out of context.
Check for References: references are very important – i.e. links to other articles, features and news stories, as well as other authors. Try and check to see if those are reliable and trustworthy.
Check the source: Go directly to the source, learn what the story is based on and then have a quick peek at the site that published it. Also, check if the story was posted along with clear images, and if the text is solidly written (no spelling errors or exaggerated language). If in doubt check the site’s “about” page, and find out if the explanation of how the publication works is clear.
Check mainstream publications: If there’s a doubt about any news story, one of the quickest ways to verify it is to see if mainstream news outlets (BBC News, Sky News, CNN, etc.) have shared it. If they have done so, then almost certain that the story real and not fake. Top publications and news organisations strive to check and then double-check their sources to make.
Here’s a useful infogram that can help you in your effort to avoid fake news: