This printable activity sheet introduces basic media literacy skills and concepts and is suitable for use in homes, schools and libraries. It can be completed independently, but children will learn more if you discuss the activity with them. Younger children may need help reading the instructions and completing the activity.

This printable activity sheet introduces basic media literacy skills and concepts and is suitable for use in homes, schools and libraries. It can be completed independently, but children will learn more if you discuss the activity with them. Younger children may need help reading the instructions and completing the activity. 

Level: Grades 7-9

About the the Author: Mathew Johnson, Director of Education, MediaSmarts

Duration: 1 1/2 to 2 hours, plus time for the assessment task

This lesson was produced with the financial support of Digital Public Square.

Written by Dr. Samantha McAleese

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.  

People who share false or misleading information sometimes use the language of critical thinking and media literacy, telling followers to “do your research” and “think critically” in one breath and then to “trust the plan” in the next. So how can we tell if we’re really thinking critically?

What do we mean by propaganda?

  • Propaganda tries to get you to believe in an idea or to feel a certain way.
  • Propaganda convinces you by provoking your emotions instead of making a logical argument.

Not all propaganda is bad! It can inspire positive emotions like love, pride and empathy. It can persuade us to do things like putting on seatbelts or brushing our teeth.

Hate propaganda is different: it tries to make us fear and distrust another group of people.

Here are three ways to respond to false info online:

1. Ask a question

If the false info is coming from a friend or a family member, or you’re worried that your reply might help spread the false info, you can just ask a question like “Are you sure that’s true?” or “Is that source reliable?”.  

That nudges them to think more about whether what they're sharing is true, and shows other people that you don't agree with the bad info.

Research has found this works almost as well as correcting or debunking false information!

These printable activity sheets introduce basic media literacy skills and concepts and are suitable for use in homes, schools and libraries. They can be completed independently, but children will learn more if you discuss the activities with them. Younger children may need help reading the instructions and completing some activities.

Level: Grade K to 3

About the Author: Matthew Johnson, Director of Education, MediaSmarts.

Duration: 10-15 minutes per activity

This lesson is part of USE, UNDERSTAND & ENGAGE: A Digital Media Literacy Framework for Canadian Schools.

This lesson series contains discussion topics and extension activities for teachers to integrate the TVOKids Original series Wacky Media Songs. This lesson focuses on students’ ability to influence positive social norms in online spaces and to speak out as active, engaged citizens.