New educational handbook to help students distinguish truthful information from fake news online

Social media is playing an increasingly big role in our daily lives, and for many it has become the primary source of information and news. Therefore, it’s important to carefully evaluate the truthfulness of the news we read online. Fake news is becoming increasingly common, it is easily believed by a wide audience, and it is transmitted very quickly through social networks. 

Date 2022-06-30 Author Greek Safer Internet Centre Section awareness Topic media literacy/education, potentially harmful content Audience children and young people, parents and carers, teachers, educators and professionals
Picture of the cover of the handbook in Greek, on a purple background

In Greece, the pandemic has demonstrated how fast fake news can spread on the internet. On the other hand, young people today do not have the proper skills to distinguish trustworthy information from fake news on the internet. The 2018 survey conducted by the Greek Safer Internet Centre in collaboration with the Ministry of Education on 14,000 students aged 10-18 years showed that 58 per cent of children get informed by posts on social networks, 26 per cent learn the news from news sites and 16 per cent from elsewhere (TV, radio, newspaper, friends, parents). 58 per cent of the surveyed children claimed they are able to spot fake news items on the internet, 30 per cent stated they are only able to spot it when it is very obvious and 12 per cent that they cannot spot it. 

Infographic summarising a survey on the online habits of children in Greek (sample: 14,000 students). 58 per cent of children are being informed by publications on social media, 58 per cent think they are capable to distinguish fake news, 30 per cent only distinguish them whey they are really apparent, and 12 per cent states they are not able to spot fake news. Credits: Greek Safer Internet Centre.

In an effort to give educators the material and tools they need to teach the basics of misinformation in classrooms, the Greek Safer Internet Centre has created a handbook for students accompanied by a guide for educators

The handbook aims to develop critical thinking in students aged 13-18 to understand the methods and mechanisms used to create, disseminate and reinforce online misinformation, and to learn specific tools that can help distinguish truthful information from lies on the internet. 

Cover of the handbook on a purple background. It features two young girls with a magnifying glass over a device screen and the writing "fake" in the middle. Credits: Greek Safer Internet Centre

The learning objectives of the handbook are: 

  • To understand which issues related to misinformation are important in their daily lives. 
  • To identify what is fake news on the internet and understand what methods and mechanisms are used to create, distribute and amplify misinformation online.
  • To recognise how misinformation affects our lives online and offline.
  • To explore content creation and dissemination on social media platforms. 
  • To try and apply specific tools and look at specific examples to understand the mechanisms of fake news.

Through the dialogue and exchange of experiences promoted by the misinformation handbook, students will have the opportunity to learn how to deconstruct fake news. In doing this, an important auxiliary role is played by the case examples contained in the handbook, which are inspired by current issues. 

The handbook is included in the +21 platform of the Greek Ministry of Education where teachers and educators can find educational material for their courses. 

Find out more about the work of the Greek Safer Internet Centre, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services – or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.   

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