5 Ways to Teach Our Children to Be Smarter Internet Users!

Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 6.24.21 PM.png

1.) Have a discussion with your child about their technology use Medical studies have shown that the part of the brain that regulates impulse control is not fully developed in teenagers. An adolescent brain has been compared to a car without brakes, not able to stop and evaluate whether that text or post is really a good idea or if it is true. It may be wise to limit how teenagers use cell phones, social media, and other forms of electronic communication until they are more mature.

2.) Don’t be afraid to get nosy!
Ask to be “friends” with your child on Facebook and give them a follow on other social media sites. Be aware of what they post, who their friends are and what their friends are posting. It’s a good idea to periodically look through to make sure what they’re posting is appropriate and safe!

3.) Make sure that strong privacy settings are in place

It’s important that your child only grants access to people they know and trust on their social networks.

4.) Consider establishing a time limit
Technology is great for learning and all, but too much social media or internet could be bad for your child. Too much link to media could be linked to poorer quality of sleep, lower self-esteem, and higher levels of depression and anxiety. Instead, encourage them to get out, get active and read a book instead!

5.) Most importantly, talk to your child
Help your child understand why it’s important to know the content they read and share on the internet. Teach them how to access factual information in a world of “fake news”, discuss the proper ways to react to cyber bullying, and why privacy settings are so important on the internet!

Why Are We Falling for Fake News?

Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 5.25.38 PM.png

By Bethany Gordon

According to MarketingProfs, more than 2 million online articles are published every day on the web - including blogs just like this one!

Today the internet is becoming more mobile, faster and more efficient than ever before, giving people the opportunity to share news and access the internet for information easier. This is greatening the chance of false articles being published and is causing people to believe misleading information.

--But why do we fall for it?!

Our brains are becoming lazy

With international news being so widely accessible, we are more likely to just “Google” our answers, rather than taking the time to read a book or an article and actually get the facts. Do you ever find yourself trying to read an article online, but then you find yourself lost amongst it realizing you don’t really recall what the article was about? That is because our minds are multitasking reading pop-up e-mails, glancing at our phones for notifications, checking out an online advertisement for a product that you’ve been dying to purchase. Our brains are developing a muscle memory of “skimming the article”, making it easier to read quicker and take in less information (or perhaps misleading information).

With the internet being mobile almost everywhere in the world, our brain is taking on the temptation to outsource all of our thinking to the web. Whether you’re curious to see what the Northern Lights look like in Alaska or if you want to know more about how Bumble Bees collect pollen in the Summer – you’re less likely to travel to Alaska or drive to the nearest library and check out a book on Insects, because it is costing you money and your time. Why read a book when you can just Google a short article for free at home? Yet, are you certain that what you are reading is accurate?

Conspiracy Theories as Stories

Although conspiracy beliefs can occasionally be based on a rational analysis of the evidence, most of the time they are not. As humans, one of our greatest strengths is our ability to discover meaningful patterns in the world around us to make more sense of things. But sometimes, we may find that the patterns and connections are not there and the event is beyond our control.

However, there is something about conspiracy theories that causes a certain attractiveness to our brain. The attractiveness of conspiracy theories may arise from a number of cognitive biases that characterize the way we process information. “Confirmation bias” is the most pervasive cognitive bias and a powerful driver of belief in conspiracies. We all have a natural inclination to give more weight to evidence that supports what we already believe and ignore evidence that contradicts our beliefs.1

Another relevant cognitive bias is “projection”. People who endorse conspiracy theories may be more likely to engage in conspiratorial behaviors themselves, such as spreading rumors or tending to be suspicious of others' motives.

If you would engage in such behavior, it may seem natural that other people would as well, making conspiracies appear to be more likely and widespread.

Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 5.28.27 PM.png

The nature of the Internet nowadays has resulted in many parties throwing their hat into the internet stream of articles, sometimes purposefully circulating incorrect information. This may be for fun, or for more sinister reasons. But the truth really is out there – it just takes some effort to find it.

Us as humans must try to use the extra effort to recognize bad apples when we see them – and teach our children to do the same!

1. http://www.alphr.com/science/1002312/does-the-internet-make-our-brains-lazy

The Role Of Journalism

Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 8.24.01 PM.png

By Gail Hunt

Journalism plays a vital role in our society, bringing important news and information to our lives.  It educates and informs us on issues that affect us in our community and country, as well as help us understand the global world around us.  

A journalist’s job is to establish the facts of a story, by fact-checking and sharing information with the public.  Today however, journalists face many challenges.  With the rise of social media and fake news, Americans are simply not getting their news from reliable sources. It has become harder to identify fact versus fiction. News stories that are posted and shared on social media are often not fact-checked.  Being the first media outlet to post a breaking news story all too often seems to be the goal, rather than taking the necessary steps to be accurate and fact check one’s sources.

When a story breaks, speed and accuracy are important to the journalist, but should never be compromised, “neither speed nor format excuses inaccuracy when it comes to informing the audience.” (SPJ, Code of Ethics).

Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 8.25.28 PM.png


Fake News is Not Journalism

According to the Society of Professional Journalists, one of the core principles of ethical journalism is to “Seek Truth and Report It.”.   Journalists are encouraged to take responsibility for the information they report, regardless of the platform.  The authors of fake news do not seek the truth, but provide deliberate misinformation and news that is fabricated to the public.  


Negativity towards the press hit an all time high during our last Presidential election, with the public’s mistrust in the media.  On February 16, 2017, President Trump berated the media repeatedly at his press conference, calling CNN, the New York Times and other outlets dishonest and “very fake news”.

Trump Attacks “Very Fake News”


(Video: Reuters / Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 8.28.14 PM.png

With the phenomenon of fake news, the public needs ethical journalism today more than ever. We can all do our part by working together.  Journalists who continue to deliver consistent, accurate and quality content, above speed will prevail. And for the rest of us, remember to check your sources of news and information. Never use just one source of information, do your homework and compare stories and information. Help stop the spread fake news by not clicking and sharing every post you read on social media

Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 8.29.25 PM.png




"Fake News" It Is Not Just Coming Out of Trump's Mouth

By Catherine Hulme

Fake news has been in the news so to speak ever since Donald Trump started using the phrase after he was elected as President.  But it’s not just happening in America, folks! Nope. Fake news is blooming all over the world.  It’s ‘YUUUGE’ EVERYWHERE and it’s been happening for centuries.

Fake news dates as far back as Ancient Rome. In the form of , Marie Antoinette.

While less common in Ancient Rome, today, fake news is practically an epidemic. Sites are popping up all over the world and leaders, like Mr. Trump are arguing that anything they don’t agree with is “fake news.”

So what exactly has been happening recently around the world that is debatable to believe? 


Just recently, the president of Syria said that reports accusing his regime of torture was “fake news.”  Around 13,000 prisoners were killed at a Syrian prison… He also said that any photos taken of the prisoners were “photoshopped.” Don’t believe me? Watch the vid below! 

Still don’t believe me? Here’s another one… A XXXXX said that people who fled South Sudan were sending fake news and hate speech back into the country via social media which is inciting violence against people back in their country!  

What is Fake News?

What is Fake News?
By Gail Hunt

The term “Fake news” may be taking center stage in today’s digital arena, but it has really been around since the beginning of time, distributed through different mediums of the day.  “Fake news” is a growing phenomenon in the media-saturated world we live in today.  Its intended definition was to refer to deliberate misinformation and news that was false, while today the term is used freely for opinions and statements that one just doesn’t like or agree with.  

Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 2.04.05 PM.png


Fake news also aims to persuade people to adopt a certain point-of-view, through deliberate lies and manipulation. Whether it's a Tweet, a share on Facebook, or a newscast story, its intention is to resemble legitimate news stories.When a story contains fabrications and is presented as a legitimate news story, it is fake news.  

Examples of Fake News in the media:

Back in 1938, Orson Welles performed an adaptation of H.G. Wells’s 40 year old novel, “War of the World's”, with on-air fake news bulletins, describing a Martian invasion in New Jersey.  This broadcast caused hysteria, with calls to police, newspaper offices and radio stations across the country.  Many people panicked, and were convinced that the story was true

War Of The World story on NPR’s Radio Lab.

Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 2.05.08 PM.png

President Donald Trump has embraced “fake news” and often uses the term against the news media.  


Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 2.06.17 PM.png
Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 2.07.01 PM.png

Fake news as a hoax:

Fake news also has a huge commercial side to it. “Clickbait”, which is rarely newsworthy, is a term used to entice a reader to a particular site, by using catchy and sometimes provocative headlines.  Once the reader has been lured to the site, there is a good chance they will click on the link to read further.  This is a win-win for the click-baiter, as more clicks equals more money to the site.  Its intention is making money by luring the reader to deceptive news stories, a.k.a. fake news.

Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 2.09.01 PM.png

Overall, “Fake News” is something that we all need to be cognizant of, as well as be responsible for what we share online.  Ask yourself, “is the story backed by facts?”, “are other news organizations reporting the same stories?” Always check your sources, and of course, use your common sense.  If a story sounds too good to be true, or outwardly outrageous, it probably is fake news.