One of the things that makes the online world so interesting and dangerous is that it’s a place where anything can be posted. That’s good for some reasons and bad for others, and whether your experience in the online world is positive or negative can depend on the degree to which you can effectively and reliably call “bullshit”.
MediaSmarts is a non-profit established to understand and train the critical thinking necessary for people to “engage with media as active and informed digital citizens”.
The organization recently released two reports that came out of engagements with Canadian youth about being online, and they show that young people have a pretty clear idea about what’s going on and what could be done to address problems.
Digital Media Literacy and Digital Citizenzship is the fourth part of a larger project investigating “Young Canadians in a Wireless World”.
It surveyed more than a thousand grade school children from across Canada and found that they are “relatively savvy” about how they get information online, and they are being taught how to make sure the information they’re getting is reliable.
But 83 percent of the respondents think that online platforms should “supervise what people post and comment, and that platforms should remove bad content.”
A different report from MediaSmarts came out of focus groups with young people aged 16 to 29 in which they said they were constantly encountering “misleading or false information online”.
Reporting Platforms: Young Canadians Evaluate Efforts to Counter Disinformation showed that these young people are using techniques to verify information – or outright ignoring things they know to be false – but they also believe that online platforms should be responsible for moderating content.
They just don’t think those platforms are going to do anything about it.