Discerning between fact and fiction

In the ever-expanding digital landscape, staying informed and discerning between fact and fiction online is paramount, particularly for children, parents, and education professionals. the Romanian Safer Internet Centre newsletters address various online phenomena, providing clarity and recognition of these issues when encountered. They also produced a podcast series hosted by Ora de Net program ambassadors, exploring critical thinking, and navigating fake news in the digital age.  

Date 2024-06-03 Author Romanian Safer Internet Centre Section awareness Topic media literacy/education
People holding multiple phones

One prevalent challenge in today's online landscape is the spread of misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation, each posing distinct risks to individuals and society:   

  • Misinformation: occurs when news or information is shared without malicious intent. Examples include rumours, jokes, or unverified "news from sources."   
  • Disinformation: unlike misinformation, disinformation involves deliberately spreading false information with harmful intentions. The goal is often to sow panic, mistrust, or polarization.   
  • Malinformation: involves the intentional creation and dissemination of fabricated or manipulated information designed to appear authentic. Malinformation is crafted to cause harm, such as spreading panic, discrediting individuals, or groups, or inciting societal tensions.   

Recognising these distinctions is crucial for navigating the complexities of the online world responsibly. Children and adolescents are vulnerable to false or misleading information, which can influence their perceptions and behaviours.   As parents and educators, it is essential to be equiped  with tools to identify and address these phenomena. Teaching media literacy and critical thinking skills can empower individuals to evaluate information critically, question sources, and verify credibility before accepting or sharing content online.   

Staying informed and discerning between fact and fiction online is crucial, especially for children, parents, and education professionals. To support this goal, the Romanian Safer Internet Day has dedicated a newsletter to address various online phenomena, providing clarity and recognition of these issues.   They also produced a podcast on critical and fake news. 

Critical thinking and navigating fake news podcast 

In a recent podcast series hosted by Ora de Net program ambassadors, the topics of critical thinking and navigating fake news in the digital age were explored with insightful guests.  

In one episode, Filip Iacob, an ambassador for Ora de Net, discussed critical thinking with Mrs Alina Hora, a school counsellor at CMBRAE (Bucharest Municipal Center for Resource and Educational Assistance). Together, they delved into the intricacies of critical thinking as it relates to technology use and the virtual world. The conversation aimed to address pressing questions surrounding how individuals can develop discernment and sound judgment amidst the influx of information online.  

Another episode focused on the critical issue of combating fake news. Diana Soare, another ambassador for Ora de Net, welcomed Lavinia Petrea, a respected TV producer and seasoned influencer in media and online spheres, as a guest. They tackled the specific challenges children and adolescents face as news consumers in the digital landscape, particularly on social media platforms. The discussion sheds light on the susceptibility of young audiences to misinformation and the viral spread of false narratives within online communities.  

The overarching theme across both podcasts underscores the importance of equipping individuals, especially younger generations, with the skills needed to critically evaluate information encountered online. As digital literacy becomes increasingly crucial today, initiatives like Ora de Net serve as platforms for engaging discussions and practical insights to promote responsible and informed internet usage. By fostering a culture of critical thinking and media literacy, we empower individuals to navigate the complexities of the digital world with confidence and discernment.  

To prevent the spread of fake news and mitigate the harmful effects of consuming counterfeit content, we invite you to Listen to Diana and Lavina podcast discussion

 

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

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