How Can Students Avoid Fake News

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Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.

In today’s day and age, information is spreading quicker than ever and lasting as long as ever too. So with as much research as we have it can be extremely difficult to decipher the differences between real and fake news. As a college student myself, citing accurate information within papers is a critical part to my career as a learner. An effective way of identifying real news at any age is to first understand what a reliable source is. Social media sites are not often supported sources of information as anyone can post anything despite the accuracy of the information. As a student how to avoid fake news?

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While fake news can sound exceedingly interesting to the viewer, this can be explained with the idea of catching the audiences eye by using shock factoring titles. An important method to determining the characteristics of fake news is that if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Within the education system students need to be taught what a reliable source is, and what one looks like. Evaluating the accuracy and credibility of a website seems to be what stumps most students of all grade levels, according to Stanford University’s newest research. It is important that educators inform their students on accurately determining news and research. There are five important factors to consider when it comes to evaluating a website: author, accuracy, objectivity or bias, currency, and level of coverage. Students need to be able to identify an author, a few ways to do this is by looking for contact information, listed credentials or affiliation and considering the domain name, domain names that end in .edu are educational sites and .gov indicates government cites, making them reliable sources. When looking at the accuracy of a cite students need to be able to verify statics or facts, and should agree with other possible print sources.

Websites that are unreliable often have many grammatical errors, so if the page has not gone through a peer-review process, the information is likely inaccurate. Commonly in fake news, biased opinions play a major role. Educators should inform their students to avoid using biased papers as a source, because they often provide a lack of evidence to support the opinion. Students should consider things such as opinions being stated as facts, the motivation behind the information, and if it is presented objectively. Students also should consider if the information being presented is current and when it was last updated, because searching for current information is important in quickly changing fields. Lastly, students should be taught to identify the level of coverage: who the audience is for the information being provided, is material covered in depth, and is what is being covered appropriate for your needs.

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