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Here at MediaSmarts, we’ve just wrapped up another research project called Reporting Platforms: Young Canadians Evaluate Efforts to Counter Disinformation. This project created space for youth from across Canada to examine and assess reporting processes on popular social media apps (like Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube). We wanted to learn more about how young people feel about current efforts to counter misinformation and disinformation and what solutions they might have to address this particular online harm. To do this, we facilitated three focus groups with 36 participants ages 16 to 29, talked to them about how often they see misinformation and disinformation online and what they do about it, and asked them to comment on whether they trust platforms to keep them safe and informed while scrolling and sharing.
I have been blogging for over 14 years, freelance writing for almost as long, and on social media for the same amount of time. It’s become my normal to take photos for sharing later (I rarely share ‘in the moment’) or check the news on a social media website before traditional news outlets online. I actively use my phone to stay connected with family and friends, for my job, and as a camera.
When my kids saw the TikTok app icon on my phone, both of them had the same reaction: “WHAT? Why are you on TikTok?” While I thought it was because they wanted to tell me I was too old for the app, it was more that they really didn’t understand the appeal since they aren’t current users (for now).
Recently, my youngest got a new phone that has data and the ability to text anyone. We’ve been texting with my eldest for some time now too. But after years of communicating this way, it finally happened: We, the parents, were invited into a family group chat.
This means that we can quickly send info to everyone, but it’s also an opportunity for all family members to meme dump.