Fake News

‘So, I guess this means I can’t drink water anymore.’
Grade 5 student after looking at a ‘fake’ webpage on the dangers of Dihydrogen Monoxide (H20).

A couple of weeks ago, grade 5 teachers asked me to discuss with students how to know if a website is credible with reliable information or is it a website that should not be trusted.

We discussed questions that students should be asking when looking at websites:
screen-shot-2017-02-04-at-6-28-29-pm
We wanted to stress that just because it is online, does not mean it is true, real, or credible. In order to demonstrate this to students, we looked at a fictitious or fake website called ‘Dihydrogen Monoxide – DHMO Homepage. There are several fabricated websites created by educators to help students see how easy it can be to be fooled.

After looking at the www.dhmo.com website, the alarm bells began to ring as students read how ‘dangerous’ Dihydrogen Monoxide is to humans.  Students were asked to look at the questions (see image above) and at a certain time, we asked students to cross-reference to verify their findings.  Once we tried to verify the Dihydrogen Monoxide website, many students still had difficulty grasping the idea that the information on the original website was false and that Dihydrogen Monoxide was just water, H2O.

Things to do at home:

  • teach your child to verify sources
  • model how to question motivations
  • help your child to think critically when researching

Below are to articles that go a bit more in depth about this subject:
Most Students Don’t Know When News Is Fake, Stanford Study Finds
Students Have ‘Dismaying’ Inability To Tell Fake News From Real, Study Finds

Resources:
Source of Website Questions

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