When having conversations with children and young people on this issue, it’s important to make sure they feel that you have their best interest at heart, like by helping them think about something without forcing them to take on a particular point of view. Here are ways to approach the issue:
Listen carefully to their concerns to understand what their beliefs are and what they are based on.
If they’ve been triggered by something they’ve seen, give them space to share how this has made them feel so they feel supported and you can be better informed to support them.
Discuss the accuracy of what they’ve seen online and ask them open-ended probing questions to help them think about whether the information is trustworthy or not. Here are a few examples of open-ended questions you can try, “It would be great to see where you learned that. Should we look at it together?” or “Could you tell me more about how you got to that conclusion? I’d really like to see where you saw that”.
This can help make it easier for them to share their concerns and learn more about how easy it can be to be taken in by fake news online.
It’s also important to remind them that we are more likely to listen to those who share our views than those who do not, so looking at a variety of reputable sources for information can help them be well-informed and avoid being misled.
Encourage them to tell others if they know something is fake
If they have shared fake news with others, it’s important to correct their mistake and let people know the article or post was untrue.
Use real examples to help them spot fake news
Show them real-life examples of fake news online so they are better equipped to spot it if they come across it. You could gamify this by selecting certain posts on your social feed and asking your child whether they would share it or not and the reason why. You could then follow up with a discussion into the best ways to check if something is real or fake online.
Discuss where you get your news from and why
Take some time to show older children how you choose which sites and apps to get your news from and explain why you believe they are credible. This could be a good way to lead into a conversation about how they get their information and why they think it’s trustworthy.
Teach them how to report fake news
In addition to addressing the impact of fake news on your child, it’s important to make sure they know how to report it to stop it from spreading further and affecting other people.
Here's further advice and resources to support children and young people on this issue: