Children lack critical literacy skills to spot fake news

A new report by the National Literacy Trust stresses that children and young people in England do not have the critical literacy skills they need to identify fake news.

The report, Fake news and critical literacy: an evidence review, shows that fake news is a serious problem for children and young people, threatening democracy, confidence in governance and trust in journalism.

It highlights that the rise of digital and social media has enabled fake news to spread at an unprecedented rate and that one child in five believe everything they read online is true.

According to the trust, in order to identify fake news, children and young people need strong critical literacy skills and primary and secondary school teachers are ideally placed to help children develop these skills.

However, the report that a lack of teacher training, resources and confidence is prohibiting this.

Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust, said: “In this digital age, children who can’t question and determine the reliability of the information they find online will be hamstrung – at school, at work, and in life. We believe that teachers are the key to boosting children’s critical literacy skills, but they can’t do this without the proper training, support and resources.

“By bringing together the greatest minds and authorities on fake news and education, the new parliamentary commission gives us a fantastic opportunity to make the case for critical literacy to sit at the heart of our education system.”

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