Officially named the Word(s) of the Year 2017 by Collins Dictionary, “fake news” is something that has the potential to cause unnecessary stress, panic and confusion.
Sometimes it’s old news repackaged as LIVE breaking news, misleading pictures and videos or simply an over-the-top and unbelievable article headline shared across social media and WhatsApp.
Either way, it gets difficult to separate fact from fiction, getting especially worrying for parents with young, impressionable children.
Here’s a handy checklist for you to spot the “fake” in fake news:
A bias towards a particular organisation or individual is a big sign that the author’s viewpoint is not a balanced one. By not giving every viewpoint a fair chance, one particular partial opinion gets a lot more attention than the other. This can change a person’s opinion easily, particularly if there are images or videos to support the bias that is written about.
Anything that sounds too exaggerated or extra can be fake news. A sentence or two is fine but when the entire article is dominated by tall, unverified claims it’s a major red flag.
"GPS chip in new currency notes to track black money"
- The RBI confirmed that this is false news.
"President Kovind gains 3 million new followers in an hour"
- Every Indian President uses the same official Twitter account. President Kovind had inherited the followers of former President Pranab Mukherjee.
"Jasleen Kaur from Haryana has been chosen by NASA to go to Mars in 2030"
- The PhD student and researcher confirmed she is still an “aspiring astronaut”.
If you can’t find a similar story online or the article doesn’t have multiple sources verifying the information it can be a fake. If all the major publications are not talking about it, chances are it’s not only partial but also a carefully thought out tactic to change public opinion by an individual or group.
Parenting is hard and being a digital one comes with its own set of challenges. However, with access to a PC and the right know-how, you can ace being a digital parent. Happy Digital Parenting!
Aarambh is a pan-India PC for Education initiative engineered to enhance learning using the power of technology; it is designed to help parents, teachers and children find firm footing in Digital India. This initiative seeks to connect parents, teachers and students and provide them the necessary training so that they can better utilise the PC for learning, both at school and at home.