How to talk to your kids about fake news

If you’re a parent, you’ll be used to your kids keeping you on your toes. But the rapidly changing social media landscape means it’s increasingly hard to keep up.

What are they watching and on what platform? And, crucially, can they trust what they’re seeing and reading?

Fake news and disinformation is a growing problem, so how can parents give their children the confidence to work out what’s fact and what’s fake? Presenter Vernon Kay, who has two teenagers of his own, has been finding out.

Top tips from Full Fact

Here are the things that kids should look out for when they see a piece of news online:

  1. Story – what is it trying to say? Can this piece of news be found elsewhere and is it reported in the same way?
  2. Emotions – how does the story make them feel? Fake news tries to manipulate people’s feelings to make them click. Beware of the “woah” feeling and pause before sharing. It might even be a joke!
  3. Picture – is it fake or out of context? Check with a reverse image search to find where it’s from originally
  4. Author – what’s the URL? Check the address bar at the top – most trusted URLs end with “.com”, “.co.uk”, “.net”, “.gov”, “.org”, “.mil” and “.edu”. If not, it might be fake. Are there any experts named or quoted?
  5. Shares – even if it’s shared by a friend or famous person, it doesn’t mean it’s correct.

Where next?

BBC Teach: Fake news resources for teachers
BBC Reality Check
Fake news guide for parents - Internet Matters
Fact or Fake?