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Testing Children and Adolescents’ Ability to Identify Fake News: A Combined Design of Quasi-Experiment and Group Discussions

Communication Department, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, 012244 Bucharest, Romania
Societies 2020, 10(3), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10030071
Received: 24 July 2020 / Revised: 21 August 2020 / Accepted: 17 September 2020 / Published: 20 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fighting Fake News: A Generational Approach)
Nowadays, people increasingly choose to turn to the Internet and especially to social media for news and other types of content, while often not questioning the trustworthiness of the information. An acute form of this problem is that children and adolescents tend to include the use of new technologies in all the aspects of their daily life, yet most of them are unable to distinguish between fake news and trustful information in an online environment. This study is based on a Dutch empirical study and was conducted in Romania to examine whether schoolchildren and adolescents were able to identify a hoax website as fake, using a self-administrative questionnaire and open group discussions about the given online source. Similar to other studies based on the same research design, this research aims to explore the vulnerability of students to fake news and the way they experience an experimental situation in which they are exposed to online fake information. This exploratory study revealed that both children and adolescents are not preoccupied with the trustworthiness of the information they are exposed to in social media. While only 4 of the 54 students stated that they would not choose to save a fake animal (from a hoax website), all four of them had reasons that proved that they did not perceive the information as being a hoax. Thus, participants proved that they would act upon being exposed to fake information even when they do not trust the source. View Full-Text
Keywords: fake news and online information; children and adolescents and fake news; vulnerability to fake news fake news and online information; children and adolescents and fake news; vulnerability to fake news
MDPI and ACS Style

Dumitru, E.-A. Testing Children and Adolescents’ Ability to Identify Fake News: A Combined Design of Quasi-Experiment and Group Discussions. Societies 2020, 10, 71. https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10030071

AMA Style

Dumitru E-A. Testing Children and Adolescents’ Ability to Identify Fake News: A Combined Design of Quasi-Experiment and Group Discussions. Societies. 2020; 10(3):71. https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10030071

Chicago/Turabian Style

Dumitru, Elena-Alexandra. 2020. "Testing Children and Adolescents’ Ability to Identify Fake News: A Combined Design of Quasi-Experiment and Group Discussions" Societies 10, no. 3: 71. https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10030071

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Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

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