Google launches programme to teach children how to identify fake news

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New Delhi | Published: June 25, 2019 5:20:09 PM

In recent years, Google has been under fire as it's video sharing platform YouTube has often been linked to disinformation and propaganda, especially on impressionable minds of children and youth.

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With the menace of fake news worsening, the tech giants are coming up with new initiatives to tackle the problem. Within a few years of launching the “Be Internet Awesome” curriculum for educators, Google has now added another area to its focus – media literacy.

The new “Be Internet Awesome” curriculum which has been developed in partnership with the Net Safety Collaborative, offers play-to-learn activities that educate children on how to catch disinformation like fake URLs or misleading headlines.

The program includes “Don’t Fall for Fake” activities that focus on teaching kids critical thinking skills. These have been included in the curriculum so that children can differentiate between credible and non-credible sources.

Apart from that, Google program also has other media literacy activities like “Share with Care,” which are centred around educating kids on how to interact online and maintain a good reputation. The program’s “It’s Cool to be Kind” is about online harassment which will be a good step to address problematic behaviours online.

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Besides the new curriculum, the search engine giant has also announced a partnership with the YMCA, where Google will help families in creating a dialogue with their kids about subjects such as social media, disinformation and cyberbullying.

The “Be Internet Awesome” curriculum is mostly for seven to twelve-year-olds, and is available to family members and educators who are interested this week.

In recent years, Google has been under fire as it’s video sharing platform YouTube has often been linked to disinformation and propaganda, especially on impressionable minds of children and youth. Fake news, hoax and doctored videos have thrived on YouTube for years now – without any concrete measures being taken. In 2016, after demonetisation, videos with rumours of new notes embedded with GPS microchips in them started doing rounds on the video sharing site.

And it is not just YouTube, Facebook and WhatsApp too have recently come under the scanner of spreading misinformation. Earlier this year, WhatsApp had launched a slew of initiatives to check fake news being spread using the platform. The company had restricted the number of people a message could be forwarded to and also added a tag to help people differentiate between original messages and forwards.

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