One of the main digital competences we can teach kids nowadays, is how to adopt a critical view when reading news or articles via Internet. The proliferation of all kinds of news portals, and their redistribution via social media, has made it really difficult to distinguish between news, opinion articles, or just propagandist information.

Acquiring the ability to identify fake news, and stop believing everything you can read online, will turn our students into intelligent and sensible adults, who will always remember to make a good research before jumping to conclusions on any matter.

5 questions to identify fake news

Where does this information come from?

Have your students assess whether or not the website publishing the article is reliable. You can make a list of reliable sources, like the online versions of newspapers, and another one of websites whose content is not always trustworthy.

Does the headline sound neutral?

Good journalism always uses neutral headlines; if by reading the headline of an article it makes you angry, sad, or you find it funny, that’s a red flag! That might be a clickbait headline, made that way to make you click it.

Are the images related to what the article is about?

Some articles use old images to illustrate some recent news, just to generate impact by sharing a shocking image, which is not exactly related to what the article is about. That usually happens, for example, when reading about disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes.

Can you identify the author of the article?

A good indicator of the quality of the article is when you can clearly identify its author, either by name or by their social media profiles. Websites that publish their articles being published by “admin” do not give a good image.

Does the article mention any sources?

It is very common to see articles saying things like “Scientists say that…”, but not making any reference to any scientific study. It is usually a sign of not making the proper research when making an article, just mentioning something that other websites say without taking the time to corroborate the information.

By following these 5 simple steps, you can have your classroom distinguish real news from fake ones, a really useful ability for their present, and future.