There’s nothing new about not being able to fully trust everything you read, see, or hear. But with huge amounts of information coming to our phones, tablets, laptops, and TVs faster than ever—and with technology making it easier for almost anyone to claim to be an expert on any subject—it’s become trickier to sort fact from fiction. On top of that, many people with busy lifestyles simply don’t take the time to stop and consider whether what they’re hearing is real or if it’s just what some call “fake news.” And although the presence of fake news is upsetting to many adults, it can be flat-out confusing for children.
“Your girl is almost definitely hearing about fake news—be it through adult conversations, on TV, or even just from her peers at school, and most likely she doesn’t understand what it means,” says Girl Scouts’ developmental psychologist Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald. “On one hand, she’s being told by the caring adults in her life that it’s wrong to fib or tell lies, but on the other hand, there’s been a lot of talk about powerful people twisting the truth or dismissing facts they don’t like as fake news. It’s really hard for anyone, let alone a child, to make sense of this.” More than that, it creates confusion about who your daughter can trust, which can lead to feelings of anxiety.
Helping your girl understand what’s going on—and discussing why it’s important to think about the information we’re told instead of just accepting it as fact—can give her some peace of mind and empower her to be a truth finder in this fake news world. Here’s how to build her critical-thinking skills and help her make sense of all the confusion.
Developing critical-thinking skills (like the ones she can use to spot fake news) will help your daughter navigate her world, identify problems, and find solutions that lead to positive change. But beyond that, these skills help her become an independent young woman who can think on her own with confidence—and that’s definitely not fake news!
Listen to what your girl has to say and learn about the issues she cares about.
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