How to deal with misinformation

Tips and tricks to help you deal with misinformation

Get advice on stopping the spread of misinformation online and minimising the impacts on your child.

From conversations to reporting, see guidance on keeping kids safe from misinformation online.

Image of girl with laptop looking worried with media literacy icons.

4 ways your child can deal with misinformation

Report misleading or false content

Most platforms your child uses have some guidance around misleading information, fake news or scams. Make sure you and your child are familiar with this guidance.

It generally also explains the process of reporting such content to protect others. Review this and help your child make those reports.

Fact-check together

If misleading or false information impacts your child, they might need support fact-checking information.

Review the information that impacted them and work together on how they could identify misinformation next time. Turn their experience into a supportive learning moment.

Own up to mistaken information

Encourage your child to take ownership of their mistakes. If they share content that they later learn was false, they should let people know — especially if shared on social media or in a video game. Apologise and perhaps share the correct information before moving on.

Support wellbeing and mental health

Some misinformation or disinformation can negatively impact children’s wellbeing and mental health. As such, it’s important to evaluate how the experience impacted them.

Scams, for example, could lead to financial issues as they grow; misleading science could lead to bodily harm; edited videos and photos could lead to unrealistic standards around body image.

Depending on the severity of the false information, your child might need additional support or counselling.

Looking for more?

For the right resources and support personalised to your concerns, create your family's toolkit.


The negative impacts of misinformation

Misinformation can impact children in a range of ways, depending on what the misinformation is and how severely it targets someone.

Impacts of scams

Scams mislead users in different ways with different outcomes. Some might take children’s money while others steal their personal information. Decentralised finance expert Ademolawa Ibrahim Ajibade identifies the following impacts of scams:

  • financial loss;
  • identity theft leading to poor credit score;
  • mistrust of reputable sources;
  • poor mental health or anxiety.

Impacts of fake videos or images

Edited images or videos can spread misinformation around news, science and even body image.

Deepfakes can show politicians or celebrities saying or doing things they never did. Or, an image used in the wrong context can spread fear and confusion.

Additionally, many influencers edit their photos to appear a certain way. Children might compare their own appearance to these unrealistic standards, leading to poor body image and, potentially, harmful behaviours.

Help children develop positive body image.

How to deal with the impacts of misinformation

If your child is active online, there's a good chance that they've come across misinformation. Give them the tools to effectively deal with it and get support.

Fact-check information together

If your child has fallen for false information, they might feel embarrassed. So, take the time to review the misinformation with them. Discuss what made them think it was real, and then show them the signs that it was false. Additionally, show them what you would do to check if the information was true.

Doing this exercise together can help them critically assess information in the future.

Encourage them to fix their mistakes

If your child shared misinformation with others, encourage them to take ownership of that mistake. They could make a follow up post (if on social media) to say that what they shared was false. Additionally, they could share the correct information. It’s important that they delete the misinformation where possible.

Offer support for their wellbeing

In severe cases such as scams or impacts on body image, children might need additional support. This could include talking with a counsellor or getting support from your child’s school.

These helplines can offer support as well:

Help them report misleading or false content

The platforms or apps your child uses likely have policies on misleading content. Some policies are more robust than others and will take down such content while others require a little more thought.

If your child comes across misinformation or misleading content, they should report it. Show them how to do this or do it with them. Even if they aren’t sure, the moderation team can assess the content to make the decision.

How to report fake news on social platforms

Dealing with misinformation on social platforms can be tricky, but most platforms have clear community guidelines that allow users to flag misinformation when you see it.

Teach your child to report misinformation or disinformation to help make communities safer. See how with guidance for popular apps below or go here to see how to report on other platforms.

Report content on Instagram

Select the post or profile you need to report and choose 'false information' when giving a reason.


Report misinformation on TikTok

Select the post or profile you need to report and choose 'harmful misinformation' when giving a reason.


Report content on YouTube

Report misleading videos, channels and more. Choose 'misinformation' when giving a reason.

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