For Everyone

Ilustracija: Urška Stropnik Šonc

Media Literacy Toolbox

Časoris’ media literacy portal offers many free resources for teachers, parents and general public, including interactive games, videos, posters, manuals and various tips.
Try them out!

Ilustracija: Urška Stropnik Šonc

What’s in the Toolbox?

How and why to become media literate?

On Časoris’s media literacy portal, we encourage critical thinking about the media and teach why and how to spot fake news.

Disinformation and fake news are usually created because someone wants to use them to influence our beliefs and behavior or to make money from them.

Objava o rižu iz plastike. Vir: Sociala.si/Facebook

For example, news spread on social media that we can protect ourselves from the new coronavirus drinking warm water or even taking a bath, vitamins, supplements or certain foods, such as garlic.

Or the message that the rice sold in the supermarket is plastic.

A media literate person can check whether this is information that can be trusted.

For example, is news about dolphins or a jellyfish in the Venice canal true or false? How about a puppy with a tail on its forehead, flying penguins, a penguin mistaken for a burglar, a giant anaconda or genetically modified eggs?

How about the red owl with blue eyes, for example?

Rdeča sova. Vir: posnetek zaslona/Snopes

How about the news about the shark that chased the canoeist?

Beli morski pes za kajakom. Foto: Thomas P. Peschak/https://www.thomaspeschak.com Photo: Thomas P. Peschak/www.thomaspeschak.com

We can fall for news that excites us more quickly than news that doesn’t.

Now there is artificial intelligence (AI) that can cause us additional headaches.

So, how can we tell which face was created AI? And which photo?

A media literate person, according to the definition in the American children’s newspaper News-O-Matic, knows how to extract meaning from a mass of information and thus learn about the world in which he lives; is able to distinguish facts from misinformation and lies; can understand and create media messages.

In collaboration with Michelle Ciulla Lipkin from the NAMLE organization, News-O-Matic has prepared five tips for children on how to become media literate:

  1. Be critical; just because you read something doesn’t make it true. Find out where the facts in the text come from, try to verify them.
  2. Don’t share too much; what you put online stays there forever. Think before you share a piece of information or a photo. Don’t post anything that might hurt someone.
  3. Ask questions; inquire about everything. When you see or read something, think about it. Who did it and why? Can I trust this person or this information? How does this news make me feel? The more questions you ask yourself, the more media literate you will be.
  4. Talk to each other; talk about what you see and read. Ask others what they think. You might be surprised at how many different sides there can be to a single event, how differently people can look at the same thing. It’s always good to learn something new.
  5. Create; try to create a media message. Write a news story, take a photo, create a meme. You can have a lot of fun doing this. There have never been so many technological gadgets available to create.

As 13-year-old Jude told News-O-Matic journalists: If you learn to be a responsible media user, you will be a better person – online and offline (in real life).

The United Nations #PledgetoPause campaign asks people around the world to commit to pause for a moment, take a deep breath and think before sharing information online.

How to recognize fake news?

In order to identify disinformation and media literacy, at Časoris we use tools that we have developed ourselves (the booklet Children and the Media: Finding the Truth in the World of News and the video What is Fake News?) and those that we have organised for the Slovenian public in cooperation with other organisations (the board games Bad News and Bad News Junior, and Harmony Square, the leaflet How to spot fake news? and the E.S.C.A.P.E. or PoD.V.O.M.I.S. leaflet) or have been featured on the websites of trusted organisations (for example, The Disinformation Diaries game for politicians and their advisors).

So how do we identify fake news and other forms of disinformation? For example, we might ask ourselves:

  • Does the news sound plausible?
  • Has anyone else reported on it (media or other sources, such as encyclopedias)?
  • Who is the author?
  • What did catch your attention?
  • What is the purpose of the message?
  • Is there something missing in the message?
  • Is the text grammatically correct?
  • Is the portal where it is published credible? Do you recognize it, can you trust it?
  • Are the authors of the portal featured in a section such as About us?
  • Have they stated the purpose of the portal?
  • Is the photograph authentic or does it look fake to you? If we try to find out when and where it has been published, for example uploading it to TinEye, we can quickly find out when it was first published. More detailed guidance (in English) on how to identify the authenticity of photos has been produced Belingcat.
  • Is the video authentic? It may be one of the so-called “deepfakes“, i.e. videos in which the persons or their statements are faked. To check the authenticity of a video, you can use the Chrome browser plugin Invid.
  • Is the portal’s title bar genuine? Does the title extension make sense?
  • Did bots help spread the news? Bots are used malicious individuals and organisations for bad purposes, so it is worth being careful. The Associated Press (AP) checks news circulating on the web. Among other things, they reveal which news is not true, but which has also spread quickly – even in less than a week – with the help of bots.
  • Has the authenticity of the news been confirmed fact-checking portals such as Snopes? In Slovenia, we have the myth-busting portals Ne/Ja, razbijalka mitov and Razkrinkavanje. Information from different countries about the novel coronavirus can be checked on Poynter. Teenagers are disclosing it on the Teen Fact-Checking Network.
  • How do we identify fake news related to the novel coronavirus? The Go Viral game can help. It was created the experts who designed Bad News.
  • If all this is not enough, there are additional tools to check information or the Media Manipulation Casebook, a platform for civil society organisations, journalists and researchers. We can visit the platform, where they use a traffic light system to reveal what disinformation is circulating on the web. There are also short presentations on the platform and on a case that particularly resonated around the world during the first wave of the epidemic.