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Four Ways That Parents Can Help Their Kids Spot Fake News

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Fake news detection is a tricky and challenging task. With the rise of the Internet and the enormous amount of news, data and information uploaded each day, the level of fake news has noticeably increased. In November 2016, the Stanford Graduate School of Education surveyed over 2013 students presented with sponsored contents, fake and real news. “The students were able to identify a traditional ad -- one with a coupon code -- from a news story pretty easily. But of the 203 students surveyed, more than 80 percent believed a native ad, identified with the words sponsored content, was a real news story”. The study adds: “Only a quarter of the students recognized and explained the significance of the blue checkmark. And over 30 percent of students argued that the fake account was more trustworthy because of some key graphic elements that it included.”

Fake news is often associated with fake accounts for distribution of news. You can create an email with data not necessarily real and since the information does not go through a rigorous identification process, it makes the whole process of distributing fake news accessible to everyone. That is why the distribution of fake news encourages the creation of malicious accounts, such as social bots or cyborg users. A social bot is an account that is controlled by computer algorithms that produce constant content to interact with users in social networks. A bot is transformed into an entity that emits malicious content to achieve three things: cause harm, user manipulation and to spread fake news through this media. Faced with this new trend, some companies are working on new platforms to be able to provide real-time alerts on what news may be fake. One of these companies is, a platform that utilizes crowd intelligence to filter out fake news and hoaxes.

The perceived sources of fake news in the U.S. in 2017 as reported by, sees the Facebook in top of the list with a 58% share of respondents who thought they’d encountered fake news stories, followed by Internet News Sites (51%) and Twitter (49%).

Parents can take an active role in teaching their kids how to detect fake news. Below are 4 ways we suggest parents teaching their kids.


To begin with, it is essential that you teach your kids how to verify the sources of a story. In this way, they can identify if the article is news that deserves to be read or not. They can also confirm through the link of the page that you are visiting, so you can discover the origin of that story. Also, teach them to check the name of the company that is reporting that news; if you have not heard about it before, be suspicious about the information provided.


Interesting and “wow” information for are reported on different source. So, if the news your kids see only appears only on a specific web page, it is time that you teach your kid to doubt that information. Alternatively, if you have seen the same news in more than one portal, it can be more reliable.


Teach your kids to pay attention when you are given specific statistical data. Note if the information is provided by reputable or recognized scientific institutions and if it is a well-known source. You cannot trust a figure that has been published by a company that you have never heard of before.


When the results of a survey are published in the news, make sure that the sample size is large enough to ensure a reliable result. When surveys generalize to a population of more than a million of people and survey results are tightly together, the most common, reliable news is that one based on analytical results with at least 10,000 people sample.

In this way, the study, survey or analysis has statically significance, thus likely to better reflect.

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