Studies have shown that communicating the scientific consensus on a topic can be a helpful strategy in the fight against misinformation. For example, a 2015 study found that “emphasizing the medical consensus about (childhood) vaccine safety is likely to be an effective pro-vaccine message.”

Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more clear than ever that dealing with the misinformation surrounding COVID-19 requires us to come at it from every possible angle. We have needed trusted voices to provide strong, clear and sharable counter-messaging on social media.

Parents could be forgiven for thinking that our children are born media literate. Kids take to digital devices like the proverbial ducks to water, quickly becoming expert at finding the videos and games they want, and it’s a rare baby shower that doesn’t feature Elsa or Elmo in one form or another.

The #ForYou  discussion guide includes a gameplay overview, instructions on how to run the game as a workshop, a pre-brief and debrief before and after each round of the gameplay to introduce and discuss key ideas about algorithms, rules for quickplay, and a glossary of key terms.

Not many words have had a rise as meteoric as the term “algorithm.” Once only familiar to mathematicians or computer scientists, today algorithms are the subject of warnings from scholars and activists, protested by students whose future lives and careers are increasingly determined by algorithmic decision-making, personified and catered to by would-be YouTube stars, and seen as the almost magical element that is vital to the success of newer platforms such as TikTok.

#ForYou game

#ForYou is a card-based pattern-matching game that helps youth aged 13 to 18 understand the role that algorithms play in their online and offline lives, and the value of their personal information to companies that use those algorithms. The game is designed to be delivered either in school or in community spaces such as homework or coding clubs.

As we consume the troubling news of the past few weeks, we have all seen that there are so many issues we’re dealing with in our digital world that have real life impacts: the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories, the proliferation of racist stereotypes, online hate and prejudice, and the attacks on journalists and freedom of the press.

Finding programming that the entire family enjoys, with kids at all ages, can sometimes be difficult. When the kids were little, it was great when we found a cartoon that we all enjoyed. The same challenge has continued as the kids have gotten older. With preteens and teens, their television tastes change (I have a child who loves a good fantasy action show or movie, and another who much prefers comedy). However, we have discovered one type of programming we all enjoy: reality shows. Especially those with a competitive element to them (although transformative TV is popular, too). 

Guest post by Amil Niazi, cultural critic, writer and showrunner for CBC’s Pop Chat.

This is a transcript of a presentation by Amil Niazi on October 28, 2021 as part of MediaSmarts Presents The Walrus Talks: Our Digital Lives (a Media Literacy Week event).

Pages