A recent study on the behavior of internet users revealed that Gen Zs, or those born after 1996, are the most likely to share unverified news on social media platforms. For Senator Win Gatchalian, this finding should prompt efforts to boost information and media literacy among the country’s K to 12 learners.
The study by global cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, which research agency YouGov conducted in Australia, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam in November 2020, revealed that 28 percent of Gen Zs admitted to sharing news with unverified information on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. According to the study, there are more than 400 million internet users in Southeast Asia, the region known for being one of the most active social media users.
Here at home, Gatchalian said there is urgency in boosting the information and media literacy skills of the country’s learners, including their capacity to double-check, analyze, and responsibly share news items. The senator took note, for instance, of the persisting disinformation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and the upcoming vaccination rollout.
Media and Information Literacy is part of the core subjects in the K-12 Basic Education curriculum. In a media-saturated world, Gatchalian said that media literacy should help students become wiser consumers of media as well as foster critical thinking which eventually can become second nature to them and will help them in many areas as they grow older.
“Kung titignan natin ang resulta ng pag-aaral na ito, makikita natin na ang ating mga kabataan ay mas nanganganib na maging biktima o pagmulan ng pagkalat ng fake news. Dito papasok ang pagpapaigting sa information and media literacy ng ating mga kabataan, lalo na’t talamak ngayong panahon ng pandemya ang iba’t ibang uri ng maling impormasyon,” said the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.
The same study said that among other age groups, 21 percent of Gen X (1965 to 1980) also share unverified news, followed by Boomers (1946 to 1964) at 19 percent, and Millennials (1981 to 1996), who scored lowest in this aspect, at 16 percent.
Last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned of an “infodemic” or the rise of disinformation and misinformation about the pandemic.