The doorbell rings. Fifth grade students run to class. Today’s topic does not appear anywhere in textbooks: fake news. Most have a mobile phone, with users scattered on different social networks. At 10 and 11 years they exchange likes on Instagram, messages on WhatsApp and Twitter memes. Its main door of contact with the outside has form of screen and connection to Internet – the Spaniards spend more than five hours a day sailing according to a study of Hootsuite and We Are Social. Technology has exposed them to all content published on the Web, including hoaxes, but without the tools necessary to accept some and discard others.
Alba Galve, professor of Catalan Language and Literature at La Salle Premià School, tries to get her students to detect and fight invented information. Throughout the year, as part of the Junior Report project, they prepare a digital magazine that includes a section of fake news. They create them when they know how to discern between sources and have the necessary critical knowledge. “The kids consume everything indiscriminately. They need to question the reasons for things. We are increasingly in need of introducing these topics in classrooms. Humanistic matter is part of the digital era, ”he argues while adding that minors are fully involved in these types of initiatives.
It is not worth keeping the first thing you receive because this is how they manipulate you
Lali Bueno and Arianna Ranesi are part of the Junior Report team. They carry out these projects and workshops in different institutes and schools in Spain, with special success in Catalonia according to their words. With agreements with companies like Maldito Bulo, they take viral news in order to dismantle them. “We give students the tools to manage the fake news and know what is false or true. Besides, we give the centers the keys to detect these contents, ”says Bueno. To encourage participation, the content they choose is usually about equality, climate change and refugees. “We insist that they must be critical. Much information is received by networks. It’s not worth keeping the first thing you receive because that’s how they manipulate you, ”says Ranesi.
Joining technology with compulsory training has resulted in robotics or programming classes. Educational legislation has overlooked phenomena such as the almost instantaneous propagation of invented content. Urban legends and assemblies have always existed, but not the speed of diffusion achieved today. Andoni Alonso, a philosopher critical of technology, advocates precisely to slow down the pace. For giving back to teachers their ability to teach in the long term, not with the immediacy and suffocating objectives imposed on them. “The truth of the news is replaced by taste. It is easier to accept what pleases us than what does not. Therefore, the fake news they satisfy the taste and not the interest in the truth ”, ditch.
Prisoners of their own learning
With much fake running around the classes, children sometimes really have a lie. Remember, well, a student who completely believed herself a hoax. “It’s part of learning, but our job is to correct it,” he explains. Initiatives such as Junior Report or (In) form, in which the FAD, Google and the Government of Spain collaborate, intend to educate about digital content – “know how to discriminate, weigh and weigh what we receive from around us,” summarizes Alonso. And this trip should not delay it excessively. The victory of Donald Trump and the success of Brexit serve as examples of the power of misinformation. “We train people who will be the future of society. We want them to have a critical spirit against reality, ”says Galve.
At the bottom of the academic fight against the bulos lies a tendency that for some sociologists is alarming. Researcher Aviv Ovadya, founder of the Thoughtful Technology project, calls it apathy for reality. “The constant exposure of minors to misinformation can lead them to question their own reality. They can perceive that all information is a lie, ”he says. Despite the wake-up call, Ranesi maintains that raising the students’ daily life in these terms is exaggerated. He gives an example that, at the beginning of the workshops, the material is not believed fake Provide them. “It helps them wake up. To lose the feeling that everything is false, ”he concludes.
If technology arrives every time before in the hands of the students, the training against false news must also come before. “I wish when I studied I would have had opportunities like that,” says Bueno. The classrooms that have introduced these contents are still minority. At the moment it depends on the will of the teachers and the educational centers. As not everything is learned between the four walls of an institute, apart from the work of parents and common sense, Alonso leaves his particular advice to combat interested poisonings: “It may be a good idea to disconnect from certain channels because, simply and simply , we have no human capacity to discriminate such a mass of information. ”