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Teaching youngsters to smell out pretend news, Lifestyle News & Top Stories

Siblings Kam Hao Re, 10, and Kam Xi Yu, eight, heard about false on-line rumours relating to rice made from plastic at their main faculty final yr as a part of their academics’ efforts to coach pupils about pretend news.

The academics debunked the “news” as a part of a cyber-awareness train and Xi Yu learnt that not all data sources are dependable.

At home, their dad and mom assist them confirm data by supervising their Google searches. In current years, allegations about plastic rice being bought in Asia have surfaced periodically.

Their mom, Madam Seng Tzer Jing, 43, says: “At their age, since they don’t use the Internet much, it is easy to ask their teachers and parents for help (in verifying what is true and false).”

Madam Seng, a scientist, is married to architect Kam Yau Fat, 42. She additionally writes a parenting weblog known as The Kam Family “Raising Children in Singapore”.

Fake news, which is characterised by the unfold of false, usually sensational, data, is a rising drawback across the world. If unchecked, the dissemination of faux news can erode belief in public establishments and destabilise societies, specialists say.


Lawyers Claire and Boaz Nazar have skilled their kids, daughter Hosanna, 20, and son Elijah-John, 14, to take stories they learn with a pinch of salt. PHOTO: COURTESY OF CLAIRE NAZAR

In Singapore, Parliament voted unanimously earlier this month to type a choose committee to look at the causes and results of deliberate falsehoods on-line.

To assist their college students sort out the issue of faux news, some polytechnics and universities right here have launched programs on matters reminiscent of media and digital data literacy, The New Paper reported this month.

For youthful kids, nevertheless, dad and mom are using a wide range of methods to assist them discern between real and false data, reminiscent of limiting and supervising Internet use.

In distinguishing between pretend and real news, some dad and mom begin guiding their kids from a younger age by questioning the veracity of fairy tales and different ageappropriate tales.

Others, reminiscent of Madam Seng, discover that curbs on screen-time generally is a good instrument to forestall the youngsters from being swamped by data that may typically be doubtful.

She says there’s an excessive amount of data on-line for her kids to navigate unguided. She additionally doesn’t need them to get hooked on screens. She and her husband make it a degree to supervise their kids’s use of the Internet.

Hao Re, a Primary four pupil, and Xi Yu, who is in Primary three, are allowed screen-time for half an hour a day, twice every week. The household’s devices, reminiscent of smartphones and laptops, are locked with passwords solely the adults know.

Madam Seng additionally encourages her kids to make use of dictionaries and encyclopaedias to search for matters of curiosity or to confirm items of data they might come throughout.

Experts say it’s good to start out kids younger, even when they’re too small to know the idea of faux news.

Ms Sarah Chua, parenting specialist at Focus on the Family Singapore, says: “Younger kids would possibly wrestle to know how news may be pretend and the advanced underlying points. Parents might want to cater their message to their kids in an age-appropriate method.

“For example, younger children may be receiving fake news from hearsay. Parents need to address the need to not just believe what they hear from their peers as facts, but to also encourage their children to clarify such news with their parents.”

Mrs Wai Yin Pryke, director of the National Library, says: “Parents naturally teach their children about what is real and what is fake from a young age. Children are taught not to believe strangers who may approach them and claim that they are sent by their parents. They would be taught to ask further questions and not to take the information at face value.”

The National Library has an data literacy programme, with the acronym S.U.R.E., a portal that folks can use to show kids about pretend news by way of accessing infographics, on-line articles and movies.

S.U.R.E. stands for Source, guaranteeing the supply of data is credible; Understand, looking for info quite than opinion; Research, investigating and evaluating the knowledge with a number of sources; and Evaluate, that’s, wanting on the challenge from completely different angles and exercising honest judgment.

Ms Carol Loi, 47, has been educating her two secondary-school-aged daughters to discern fact from fiction from the time they have been younger, years earlier than pretend news grew to become the subject du jour.

“It’s not about fake news per se. This sense of what is real or not real is a life skill. It’s part of parenting to teach what is true or not true,” says Ms Loi, who is the founding father of a agency engaged in digital literacy training.

Married to a 49-year-old undertaking director in a building agency, the couple’s two daughters are Nicole, 15, a Sec four pupil, and Gillian, 12, who is in Sec 1.

Before her daughters have been in class, Ms Loi had conversations with them about whether or not fairy tales and Santa Claus have been actual. When they noticed scenes that frightened them in films, she would reassure them that they weren’t actual.

Now that Nicole and Gillian are adolescents, she has discussions with them about discerning what’s correct within the news or in social media.

She reminds her kids to examine sources and to not react instinctively to news or photos that evoke sturdy feelings, reminiscent of anger, which could be the aim of some pretend news.

This discernment extends to speaking about deceptive photographic or promoting photos, she says.

Mindful of physique picture points many younger folks face, she has proven them, as an example, photographs of Instagrammers who pose in a approach that makes them look thinner by adjusting their shoulders, posture and angle.

Other pointers for guiding older kids to tell apart between false and real news embrace checking for clues. Fake news gadgets could have uncommon URLs or Web addresses, or spelling or grammatical errors, says Ms Fiona Walker, group managing director of Julia Gabriel Education, which gives training and enrichment for youngsters.

Fake news may be so prevalent that folks can develop into desensitised to it, says lawyer Claire Nazar, 46, who can also be a council member of Families for Life, an organisation that promotes sturdy households.

On the opposite hand, she says that her kids – college students Hosanna, 20, and Elijah-John, 14 – are so inured to the proliferation of faux news that they take such stories with a pinch of salt. It is typically the dad and mom who are much less sceptical and flow into messages about pretend news, she says.

“Sometimes, parents circulate such messages out of fear or protectiveness for their children, or even a sense of public duty,” says Mrs Nazar, who has acquired messages reminiscent of alleged well being scares that flow into broadly. She is married to fellow lawyer Boaz Nazar, 51.

Recently, claims that circulated on social media of tried kidnapping of youngsters proved to be false.

Her daughter, Hosanna, says: “I usually get my news from a newspaper app. I don’t really get it from social media sites, which may not be reliable. Whenever I see an article on Facebook, I always check the source it came from, which my mum has taught me.”

The risk of social chagrin prevents her from reposting social media messages that will not be instantly verifiable as true.

Hosanna says typically pretend movie star news can idiot many individuals, reminiscent of a current pretend trailer claiming a reunion film for the favored Friends collection of the 1990s. She didn’t repost that pretend news declare, although a few of her associates did.

Hosanna says: “We don’t tend to share it unless we know for a fact that it’s real. If you share something that’s fake, your friends make fun of you. I don’t share (social media posts) until I’ve done my research.”




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