The results of a study that is a non-shocker thanks to the whirlwind free market world of social networking and head burying ostrich-in-the-sand devotion to devices on-line, shows a vast majority of middle school aged students are apparently unable to differentiate between fact and fiction.
According to a Stanford University study, only 18 percent of research participants were able to disseminate the news from sponsored or advertised infused content. Wall Street Journal reporter Sue Shellenbarger expounds about the results of the study and the pending societal issues as “fake” content continues to circulate through the social networking realm.
Breaking news, but parents throughout history have faced the perpetual battle of acting as a custodian in validating fact against rumor as critical thinking skills are largely absent from teenage minds. Well before the onset of on-line communities and the reality of information instant gratification, flawed ideas that were generally perceived as fact permeated through grades, schools, neighborhoods and regions. However, the technological revolution has brought a plethora of unsubstantiated content to the eyes and ears of the impressionable. On the other side of the coin, a wealth of factual information is a click away from younger end-users and the steps taken by parents and educators in introducing basic research skills and fact checking mechanisms is vital in shaping a healthy and balanced grasp of reality. The generational metaphor of parents in the 1970’s and 80’s not allowing their children to possess a digital watch before developing the ability to read analogue time is an example of the importance of a sensible approach in adapting to changing technology.
Read the full Wall Street Journal article here.