Column by Charlotte Hampton and Isabel Tribe: To Keep Democracy Strong We Must Teach Media Literacy | Columnists
As one contestant said, “I’ve done a more thorough review of everything I repost on Instagram.” Another told us that the workshops gave her the confidence to discuss propaganda and censorship with local business owners while posting TPF posters in her community – part of our War on Truth campaign, for which we redesigned classic political posters to illustrate the spread and dangers of counterfeit news.
Young executives like Greta Thunberg make history. But none of the movements that advocates represent – be it climate change, racial justice, or gun control – will succeed without a common, fact-based reality.
For this reason, we believe that states and local school districts across the country should mandate media literacy training with an emphasis on social media in every class in the high school government. Only by teaching students to be skeptical about information, reviewing sources, and distinguishing between news and opinions can we have the vigorous public discourse that democracy requires.
The News Literacy Project, a non-profit organization, has been offering educational curricula since 2020; every high school needs such a program now. As we found in our workshops, even informal conversations about how we use social media can change our behavior.
If millions of us vote in 2022, TikTok shouldn’t tell us how to vote. Tackling the ubiquitous and profitable ecosystem of fake news on the internet starts with education policy, goes through conversations with like-minded people, and ends in high school classrooms.
Charlotte Hampton and Isabel Tribe are seniors in the High School of American Studies at Lehman College in New York City and co-founders of Teens for Press Freedom.
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