The online media literacy strategy aims to help young people deal with disinformation
The UK government has released a strategy to help young people spot disinformation online as part of a broader effort to improve media literacy and make the internet a safer place for children.
The strategy [PDF] involves training teachers, library staff, youth workers and carers to help young people identify disinformation, including critical analysis of the content they have consumed. According to a study by the National Literacy Trust, only 2 percent of children have developed sufficient critical thinking skills to spot disinformation on the Internet.
Concerns aren’t limited to children; The coronavirus pandemic has sparked a wave of dangerous disinformation and misinformation, including falsehoods about vaccines, 5G technology, and the origins of the virus. These falsehoods have resulted in incidents of arson and harassment of telecommunications and health workers.
Digital Minister Oliver Dowden criticized the damage that consumers of disinformation do in real life. He wrote in a statement: “We want users to be able to make more informed, safer decisions online in order to get the most out of all the advantages that the Internet has to offer. This strategy is part of our plan to do this by supporting the education and empowerment of all Internet users with the key skills and knowledge they need to be safe online – you could call it a Green Cross Code for the Internet.
“We want users to be critical of the content they consume, understand that online actions can have offline consequences, and contribute to a respectful and friendly online environment.”
The White Paper on Online Harms required the government to develop an online media literacy strategy before implementing the Ofcom integrated Internet regulator.
The media literacy strategy will receive £ 340,000 in support for the first year, during which an Online Media Literacy Task Force consisting of technology platforms, civil society and academics will be established. There are already over 170 organizations providing media literacy education in the UK. The Task Force will assess how best to improve young people’s media literature and coordinate the UK media literacy landscape. The strategy has identified a number of key media literacy challenges, including hard-to-reach audiences, vulnerable users, and strengthening resilience to disinformation.
The focus will be on: data and privacy; Online environment; Information consumption; Online Consequences and Online Engagement.
“Inaccurate or confused information shared online could threaten public security and undermine our democracy,” said Minister for Digital and Culture, Caroline Dinenage, as she presented the strategy at Battersea Library. “We’re legislating to make technology platforms more accountable, but people still need the right skills to differentiate between fact and fiction online.
“Through the Media Literacy Strategy we will channel the efforts of dedicated UK organizations and lead the fight against fake news by making the young, vulnerable and broader online community more resilient and resilient.”
Vicki Shotbolt, CEO of the online safety website Parent Zone, said the strategy is an important step in protecting children online: “In a world where school, social, work and family life are increasingly online, the right skills are in place and knowledge is essential to ensure that all parents and children can confidently and safely explore everything that the online world has to offer. “
Shout Out UK, which provides training on media and civic education, welcomed the release of the strategy: “Creating the conditions for closer cooperation between government and the civil society sector and better coordination of activities can go a long way towards achieving fulfillment perform. ”in the existing gaps. We are particularly interested in how the strategy is implemented in schools where young people spend a significant amount of their time, and how the strategy can promote four-way collaboration between DfE, DCMS, schools and civil society organizations ”.
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