Illinois students could soon get lessons in fake news

(Photo by MIGUEL SCHINCARIOL/AFP/Getty Images)

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois- Illinois lawmakers in the state capitol are moving forward with a plan to help students understand the media they consume.

State Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez, D-Cicero, wants to add media literacy classes across Illinois high schools, according to the Illinois News Network.

According to the advocacy group Media Literacy Now, media literacy is the ability to break down media messages, assess their influence on thoughts and feelings, and mindfully create media.

“Media literacy really aims at trying to be more cognizant of the kind of information that is out there nation-wide,” Hernandez said. “This information has been phrased as fake news.”

One of the largest factors in fake news is the rise of social media. The anonymity of the internet means stories are easy to make up. About two thirds of Americans occasionally get their news on social media, according to the Pew Research Center. However, 57% of these people see news on social media as largely inaccurate.

A study by a German cyber security firm tracked how fake news spreads and offered solutions to the issue. They say governments can try to crack down on fake stories or social media can take steps to moderate their websites. However, the study says educated users are the best way to combat fake news.

11 states already started implementing media literacy into their curriculum, according to Media Literacy Now.

A bipartisan House panel unanimously approved Hernandez’s idea.

 

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