There’s no doubt that teenagers are savvy when it comes to social media, but researchers from Stanford University find that they’re not so savvy when it comes to deciding what is real versus fake online.
We are in the midst of a fake news crisis. Many adults are duped by viral articles that appear to be legitimate, but are actually unfounded, not sourced or just made up. So it's easy to understand why teenagers would have trouble with online information as well.
Researchers asked more than 7,800 middle school, high school and college students to evaluate information found in tweets, comments and articles. They were stunned by the results.
They found that more than 80 percent of middle schoolers believed that sponsored content was real news. Many high school students couldn't tell apart a real and fake news source on Facebook. Furthermore, college students couldn't tell the difference between a mainstream and fringe source, and didn't detect bias in a tweet from an activist group.
Researchers recommend schools teach students early how to verify information online.