Children and fake news in the UKAccording to the most recently available data, 41 percent of children aged 12 to 15 years old believed that they had seen deliberately untrue or misleading news online or on social media in the 12 months leading up to the survey, and 34 percent were unsure, indicating general uncertainty about the legitimacy of the content they encountered.
The study also investigated children’s responses to fake news, which varied according to age. Younger teens were most likely to tell parents, other family members, or a teacher upon finding suspicious content, or to share the content and inform others that it was not true. By contrast, 15-year-olds were more inclined to report fake news to the social media network or website, and 36 percent of children of that age said they would probably not do anything about the content or simply ignore it. An encouraging result from the survey was that only a handful of respondents admitted that they would not check the reliability of news on social media if they felt the need to.
Combating fake newsSsomething which can help in combating fake news is investing in news subscriptions from trustworthy institutions offering high-quality journalism. However, with many free news outlets available, paying for news is not yet common practice for UK consumers. A global report found that just eight percent of adults in the UK had paid for online news content in the last year, the lowest percentage among all participating countries. At the same time, another study revealed that using influencers as a news source instead of journalists was practiced by 24 percent of UK news consumers aged 16 or above.
Particularly when using online forums, blogs, or influencers for news, ensuring that the news is legitimate via making checks is key in helping to reduce the spread of false and potentially harmful content, an act which will hopefully become common practice for consumers in the UK and other countries alike.