Deformed Daisies

Reading and discerning between real and fake news is becoming harder and harder for teens. Sam Wineburg conducted a study among middle schoolers, high school teens, and Stanford students and the results were bleak. Over 80 percent of the people were deceived by the fake news story presented to them. It is hard to know what exactly to believe. When teenagers forward, tweet, or post information without proper fact checking, a rash of fake news floods the Internet. I thought it was interesting how Sam Wineburg described the difference between how the typical user reads a screen article and how a fact checker reads the same information. People read vertically, taking in information from the first sentence to the last and accept it as true. Fact checkers and editors, however, read horizontally. They have multiple tabs open verifying each new fact and checking different sources across credible sites. How can we solve this problem among teens and even adults? Sam Wineburg advises that there should be educational programs teaching people how to read like an editor. In our own class, we underwent a similar test, where we were given an image of mutated flowers with a caption that read that the mutation was caused by the nuclear power plant nearby. We found that 30 percent assumed it to be truth. I think it would be interesting to conduct the survey on a larger scale among the entire fountain valley student body and teach people about the importance of discernment.

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