Fake News and Extreme Views
In the last few years, many people believe that society’s views have become more polarised, with people being more vocal, more open, and more extreme in their beliefs. One scroll through social media and it’s hard to argue against that!
Sharing news articles, blogs and forum posts can be a way of making your views known, finding others with similar views and/or opening a topic up for debate and dialogue. Children and young people shouldn’t necessarily be discouraged from exploring their own thoughts and feelings around news, politics, and world events, but they should be made aware that not every website will contain factual, balanced information.
Social media sites can be a breeding ground for conspiracy theories and false information, as especially seen throughout the pandemic and pre and post the 2019 United States elections. It can be difficult to tell if a news story is accurate, especially as some will include aspects that are true. In a Common Sense Media study carried out in America, they found that 31% of kids who shared a news story online later found out that the story was wrong or inaccurate.
For some users, it doesn’t matter if the news story is factually accurate or not. Controversial opinions often result in higher levels of engagement, for example through comments or reactions. It is not important if the reactions from others are positive or if they garner negative reactions – either way, it’s still interaction and attention.