What Sources can be trusted?
Uncertainty: It can be difficult for teens to know where to get reliable information about anything these days. They need to make good choices, but they can’t do that without accurate information.
WHAT I AM HEARING
Schools: Teachers are concerned because teenagers have said that if it is on the internet, it must be true. With so much information and opinion expressed as fact at their fingertips, teachers are having to spend more and more instruction on the topic of “reliable sources”.
Families: Families recognize that they cannot monitor all of the places where teens get information. Some of the information teens have access to on social media conflicts with family core values and beliefs.
Teens: Many teens do not see any problem. They have grown up in this world of social media and google searches. For them, it is all status quo. Others are frustrated by news programs that are biased, as well as lies and fake news that take over conversations with peers.
Everyone: This is a stressful and uncertain time for everyone. Some trusted sources from the past are now biased and unreliable.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
- Model questioning techniques for determining fact from fiction. Parents have a secret weapon in modeling thinking. It comes across as discussion and teens actually learn from it. These “discussions” become more powerful when they are followed up with “What do you think?” Asking a teenager their opinion can be a confidence booster as well.
- Identify trusted sources. Tell your teen what sources you trust for specific types of information, including trusted adults. Explain why those sources are trusted.
- Question, discuss, rinse and repeat! The more time you give to modeling, questioning, and discussing, the easier it will be for teens to learn and carry these skills into adulthood.
Remember that we are all in this together. If you are looking for more information or ideas, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.