Media literacy can be learned

Recent international research concludes that including media literacy in school curricula can help young people become more media literate. The Sustainable Talent Development research group is collaborating on a study that helps young people to recognise fake news.

Since the rise of social media, anyone can post content. The line between news, fake news and advertisements is blurring and ‘news’ is spreading faster than ever. It is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between what is real and what is fake, and to form an informed opinion. This is especially true for young people who grew up with the internet.


Recent research in Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain shows that educational programmes and training of citizens are suitable strategies to counter the spread of fake news. This study examined the overall situation of digital media literacy education in these countries. The researchers found that government agencies support many of these strategies; however, lack of policy and reliance on one-off initiatives remain pressing challenges. Integrating so-called media literacy activities into existing school subjects is one of the possible solutions, according to the researchers. Examples of media literacy activities include: learning to read graphs from a newspaper in a maths lesson or identifying ways in which the context of a news photo can be retouched/manipulated in a history lesson. The research is part of the SMILES project.

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