On the internet, it can be hard to tell what’s true and what’s false—but we have to make a lot of decisions based on how reliable we think things are. In Reality Check, you’ll learn how to find clues like finding where a story originally came from and comparing it to other sources, as well as how to use tools like fact-checking sites and reverse image searches.
Two of the most important kinds of information we look for online are about health and science. Because most of us aren’t experts on these topics, we rely on people and organizations who are experts for good information. MediaSmarts has developed new resources to help youth and adults find and recognize good information on science and health online.
Getting the Goods on Science and Health – Tip Sheet
Here are three tips to help you find good information about health and science topics.
If the source is a person, start by checking that they really exist and that they are a genuine expert on that topic. Both doctors and scientists are usually specialists, so make sure that the source has credentials in the right field. A surgeon won’t necessarily be an expert in physics, for instance, and vice versa.
Many Internet providers provide tools and services to help you manage your child’s online experience. Check with your provider to see what they offer that will allow you to block different sites, monitor your kids’ online activities and set times when the Internet is not available.
Operating systems are the “toolbox” that your computer, phone or other digital device uses to run programs and apps.
We are Netflix subscribers, and that means we’re no strangers to the Binge Watch. It’s just so easy to curl up on the couch, especially on a rainy day or a sick day, and plug into a show. Each episode plays automatically, one after the other; you don’t even have to move, except to occasionally confirm that you’re still watching when Netflix prompts you, every three episodes or so.
In this lesson, students are introduced to the privacy principles that inform the Alberta and BC Personal Information Protection Acts, Québec’s An Act Respecting the Protection of Personal Information in the Private Sector and the students’ federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) relating to personal information collection online. They learn ways to find out what personal information may or has been collected by platforms that they use, how to limit data collection about themselves, and the various forms of recourse that are available to them if they feel an organization is not respecting their rights.
In this lesson, students are introduced to the idea that privacy is a fundamental human right and that their personal information is valuable. The lesson focuses on the “economics” of personal information and that most “free” apps and online services make some or all of their revenue by collecting (and in some cases reselling) users’ personal information. Students will watch a video that illustrates the idea that they may be paying with their privacy and then discuss some of the ramifications of this. They will learn about tools and techniques for minimizing the personal information they share and create a public service announcement that helps them and their peers “know the deal” about the value of privacy.
In this lesson, students watch a short video that compares getting rid of personal information online to getting toothpaste back into a tube. After a short discussion of how visual analogies like this work, students discuss the meaning of the video (that information online is permanent.) They then read a series of short scenarios that help them identify four further principles of information online: that it can be copied, that it can be seen by unintended audiences, that it can be seen by larger audiences than intended, and that it becomes searchable. Finally, students create a simple animation that illustrates one of these principles.