Can Media Literacy Backfire?

If we can generally conclude that digital media literacy does work, it’s worth asking the opposite question: can media literacy backfire?

As with almost any discipline, media education can do harm when it’s done badly. Some of these effects are particular to the specific topics: for instance, a review of sexting interventions found that many of them promote victim-blaming and excuse those who make intimate photos public.[1] Similarly, approaches to misinformation that don’t recognize the implications of networked digital media – in particular, the increased ease and drastically reduced cost of creating and distributing media, as well as disinformation purveyors’ skill at mimicking the traditional markers of reliability – can actually make students more susceptible to misinformation,[2] while well-intentioned directions for students to avoid Wikipedia prevent students from learning how to make effective use of what is, prohibitions or not, one of their top sources of information.

There are also broader risks associated with digital media literacy in general. By looking at the ways that media literacy can backfire, we can identify specific practices and attitudes to avoid in media education and ways to mitigate backfire risks.


Perhaps the most common backfire effect is students resisting or challenging the validity of digital media literacy as a practice.[3] This may be particularly likely if students first experience media education as teens, when they are most inclined to push back against their teacher’s authority. There is more to resistance, however, than adolescent rebellion. As is so often the case in digital media literacy, resistance has both a cognitive and an affective element.

The cognitive element is arguing that the teacher is taking media too seriously: that the work being discussed is “just an ad” or that “nobody thinks about it that much” and that media therefore have no meaning or impact.[4] To a certain extent, teachers have ourselves to blame for this attitude: the works we teach as texts are overwhelmingly “serious” books whose authors had a clear intended meaning,[5] such as Animal Farm, The Handmaid’s Tale and Lord of the Flies. Though these books are easy to teach, focusing on them can promote the misconception that works can only have meanings intended by their makers. It’s important, therefore, to help students understand the key concept that all media have social and political implications. We can do this even when we’re not teaching media literacy: by treating the meaning of books not as messages to be decoded but as conversations to be negotiated with the author in English language arts,[6] or by teaching students to “think like a historian” by treating their history texts as artifacts, analyzing the influences and decisions that went into their creation.[7]

As well, we can turn students’ natural resistance to authority into an advantage by helping them see that, as Jean Kilbourne points out, media industries “deliberately trivialize what they do, playing on the general belief that ads ‘have no effect on me.’ … But it’s important to understand that ads aren’t just selling specific products. Advertising sells images and values and concepts of beauty and sexuality and success and normalcy.”[8]

This approach has its risks as well, though, because it is easy to trigger the affective element of resistance. This is the feeling that teachers are “spoiling the fun” of media or that, by critiquing the media students enjoy, we are criticizing them: “since media culture is often part and parcel of students’ identities and a most powerful cultural experience, teachers must be sensitive in criticizing artifacts and perceptions that students hold dear, yet an atmosphere of critical respect for difference and inquiry into the nature and effects of media culture should be promoted.”[9]

Even when students are willing to critique one work or medium, if discussion turns to something with more personal meaning for them they will often resist either the particular analysis (which can be turned into a learning opportunity, if we are willing to let them argue a different interpretation) or by denying that the work being discussed has any “meaning” or significance at all.[10] Resistance may also have a personal element, particularly if students feel they are being made to feel guilty about themselves or their media diets: for example, Urvashi Sahni of the Center for Universal Education cautions that “creating a sense of guilt or responsibility for the patriarchal status quo runs the risk of causing boys to become defensive or non-responsive. Instead, boys need to feel empowered to challenge inequality in order to live their own lives as ‘equal persons’ and ensure girls and women enjoy the same right to be equal.”[11] 

Given the power, influence, and frequently unethical actions of media industries, it is easy to want to shield students from their influence. But “guided by the best intentions, teachers passionate about their subject may overemphasize the idea that the media have negative effects on people, without taking into consideration audiences’ agency.”[12] As well, this protectionist approach is based on a simplistic understanding of how media influences us: as noted above in the Key Concepts section, “most media scholars have by now recognized that the relationship between audiences and media texts is complex, and audiences are neither 'zombified' by the media, nor completely free from the media’s influence."[13]

Protectionism also fails to acknowledge important aspects of all media experiences. To begin with, we must recognize that most media experiences are enjoyable: “There seems to be little place in some conceptions of media literacy for aspects of pleasure, sensuality and irrationality that are arguably central to most people’s experience of media, and of culture more broadly. For example, the emphasis on critical distance fits awkwardly with the experience of ‘immersion’ and spontaneous ‘flow’ that is frequently seen as fundamental to computer gaming … or indeed with the emotional intensity and intimacy of some forms of online communication.”[14] This is just as true of media experiences we might want to shield young people from, such as pornography, or which students themselves might avoid if given the choice, such as advertising. Even these contribute to students’ shared culture – for instance much of the advertising students now consume is delivered by “influencers” whom they consider to be friends, thanks to the parasocial effects of social media.[15] Finally, protectionist approaches fail to acknowledge that even ads can be enjoyable – think how often people hum jingles and trade catch-phrases – and that while we are not immune to ads, neither do we consume them passively.

To minimize both forms of resistance, we can focus on how media are constructions – imperfect representations of reality – before we discuss their social and political implications. For instance, we can use a value-neutral but highly significant example such as how media portrayals of drowning can lead to our inability to recognize it when it’s happening – with sometimes fatal results[16] – or how viewing cooking shows can influence our kitchen hygiene.[17] At the same time, our practice must reflect students’ experience: if we cherry-pick the worst examples, whether of ads or of cyberbullying incidents, students will see that what we’re teaching doesn’t match their reality and tune us out.

Similarly, we can reduce resistance by making sure to include examples of media works that we consider to be positive – whether in their representations of gender and diversity, their privacy practices, their message about relationships or whatever topic it is we are analyzing. This is a valuable way of helping students’ media literacy practice progress beyond “blaming the media.”[18]

Perhaps most importantly, it’s important to teach students from early on that critiquing a part of something doesn’t mean you don’t like it, nor does critiquing a work mean that you are criticizing anyone who likes it. (Here the work of film or restaurant critics, who acknowledge excellence at the same time as they criticize failure, may be instructive.) Students, especially teens, are highly alert to this risk: one described the thought process that went into deciding whether to buy a hoodie with a picture of a popular band as being “I was, like, ‘but what if they’ve done something terrible? And I just don’t know about it yet? Should I not buy this?’ And so I panicked and I was, like, ‘No, it’s fine. I don’t need it anyway.’”[19] To respect the aesthetic and emotional values of media – and therefore avoid resistance from our students – we need to teach and model critical distance, respect for others’ tastes, and open-mindedness, and help students understand that a work may be positive in some aspects but problematic in others.

Third-Party Effect

A related risk is the third-party effect: the feeling that while media may have an impact on others, you are immune. This may be a cause of resistance, for those students who already see themselves as too savvy to be “fooled” by media,[20] but it may equally occur in students (or teachers) who are enthusiastic about digital media literacy and feel it has armed them too well to be manipulated. Third-party effect can be collective as well as individual: people typically believe other groups are more likely than theirs to be fooled by misinformation, for example.[21] Similarly, students may come away from media education with more critical views of media but no better understanding of the roles media play in their own lives or how to take action.[22]

It’s important to point out to students that even if they are resistant to media messages, most of us are not only influenced by our own views but our peers’ as well: while we may not think that we’re influenced by gender stereotypes, for example, if all of our friends are we will still feel their pressure. Similarly, media can have indirect effects on our political views through the two-step flow effect, in which it is the interaction between media and opinion leaders such as politicians that influences us.[23] Teachers need to communicate to students that digital media literacy does not make us immune to media effects, but only able to be on guard for them. Providing students with evidence of their own susceptibility to media effects – such as by having them evaluate ads with persuasive elements that aren’t relevant to the value of the product, or that flatter the audience’s intelligence by telling them they’re too smart to be affected by advertising – has been shown to do this.[24] Admitting our own vulnerability can also be helpful: some ads reliably make me cry, for example, even as I recognize the techniques they use to do so.


This is perhaps the most frequently voiced concern about digital media literacy, that it leads students to become cynical rather than skeptical, doubting that anything is true or can be trusted. The RAND Corporation report Exploring media literacy education as a tool for mitigating truth decay found that some media literacy experts “felt that too much emphasis on media criticism was the wrong way to approach [media literacy]… because of the way it can permanently and universally erode institutional trust.[25] While this criticism is often overstated,[26] it is true that if students “learn not to trust any media or information at all, rather than learning to discern reliable and fact-based information from its unreliable or more-biased counterparts, then the goal of creating more-attentive and better-informed consumers and producers of media will not be met.”[27]

One can, of course, draw a distinction between teaching students to doubt everything and teaching them to question everything. But if “question everything” is all that students take away from media education it may still result in cynicism: as medical misinformation expert Jonathan Jarry put it, “questioning everything without having in place a system of media literacy and information vetting to draw from is a recipe for conspiracy thinking... Asking a million questions without subscribing to a framework for evaluating evidence—what good skepticism helps provide—can easily lead people down the conspiracy rabbit hole, which is why I don’t think simply inviting people to question and doubt everything is particularly useful… or harmless.”[28]

If we urge students to question everything without teaching them how to answer these questions, the results can be what Mike Caulfield, author of Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers, describes as trust compression: rather than applying skepticism to distinguish between sources that are more or less trustworthy, or to recognize the ways in which different sources are biased, students may conclude that no sources are trustworthy and that all are equally – and fatally – biased.[29] Critical thinking theorists describe this view as multiplist, where knowledge is seen “as inherently subjective and uncertain.” Multiplists “see no use for critical thinking, because they do not believe that humans have the capacity to ever know the world in any ‘correct’ sense”[30] – or, as Caulfield puts it, “everyone’s got an agenda, nobody knows everything, and there’s not 100% agreement on anything anyway.”[31] The difference between skepticism and cynicism, in other words, is that skepticism is asking questions to determine the value of something, while cynicism is denying that anything has value.

To avoid students falling into cynicism, we need to encourage them to move past multiplism to the evaluative perspective: “evaluativists recognize the need to reconcile objective and subjective views of the world through critical thinking. They understand that although perfect knowledge of the world is likely impossible, humans can construct useful descriptions or models of the world,and that some are better [i.e., more accurate] than others, based on evidence and argument.”[32] In other words, the evaluativist view is focused more on finding sources that you can trust, and approaching media works with an open mind, rather than on debunking and looking for negative impacts or agendas.

To do this, we must “teach students to recognize the indicators of trust-worthy versus untrustworthy experts and other sources of testimony,” understand how knowledge is produced and evaluated in different disciplines, and learn different ways of justifying a claim.[33] Teaching students to evaluate the validity and authority of sources has been shown to improve skepticism – and reduce cynicism – in areas including advertising[34] and verifying online information.[35] Just as importantly, in our networked, information-overflow environment we need to teach students quick methods to “triage” whether or not a source or claim is worth their attention, so that they don’t waste their time on close readings of dishonest or bad-faith sources.[36]


Backlash can result when students feel the teacher is pushing their own views or interpretations, rather than encouraging students to articulate and argue their own: “by drawing on structural ideas about power relations, critique can actually work to hold these in place, or at best replace one ideology with another, supposedly ‘better’ one.”[37] Media literacy scholar Elizaveta Friesem describes this dynamic in action in a classroom: “Although the material that was being studied was fairly complex, the argument was constantly reduced to simplistic conclusions about the negative influence of the media: women’s magazines, which were the primary focus of study, were implicitly accused of a straightforward form of victimization of women readers… Though the teachers noted that there can be different interpretations of media texts, they appeared to be concerned that young people might express ‘wrong’ ideas. As a result, nuances of media representations and audiences’ interpretations were lost, while alternative options were not explored.”[38] 

As well as risking backlash, this approach unwittingly models an approach to digital media literacy that can bend all the way around to conspiracy thinking. This can occur whether it’s voiced from the left side of the political spectrum, which frequently focuses on “the generation of propaganda by corporate and governmental elites which are de-facto world government,”[39] or on the right: members of fundamentalist religious groups, for example, may be expert “debunkers,” having learned many rhetorical techniques to cast doubt on scientific or historical research that challenge the literal truth of their holy texts,[40] which they then apply to interpreting media. Similarly, hate and conspiracy groups will often appropriate the language of critical thinking and media literacy, telling followers to “do your research” and “think critically” in one breath and to “trust the plan” in the next.[41] In all of these cases, though, the practice leads away from critical thinking rather than towards it because the conclusion is never in doubt: they may be looking for puzzle pieces, but in their minds they already know what the final picture will be.

For this reason, some experts have argued that media education “must be rigorously nonideological.”[42] But how can we discuss the social and political implications of media – never mind subjects such as news and misinformation that are explicitly political – in a non-ideological way?

Rather than pretending to be apolitical or trying to “teach both sides,” what is most effective is to approach each topic with open-mindedness and even-handedness, but not neutrality.[43] A key to this – and to avoiding the impression that you’re telling your students what to think – is to distinguish between fact and opinion questions and between active and settled questions.

  • Fact questions are those that can be conclusively answered, proven or disproven: What nutrients does a bag of potato chips contain? Does fluoridated water reduce cavities?
  • Opinion questions are ones that cannot be conclusively answered but can be supported by argument or evidence: Should food companies be allowed to advertise potato chips to children? Should fluoride be added to the water supply to reduce cavities?
  • Settled questions are those that either have been conclusively proven or are accepted by society as settled. A settled fact question would be “Why are objects drawn towards the Earth?” A settled opinion question would be “Should all people receive equal rights under the law?”
  • Active questions are those that are still being discussed. An active fact question would be “Does gravity act through particles in the way other forces do?” An active opinion question would be “How should we resolve the conflicts between the rights of different groups and people?”

Teachers should establish which questions they consider settled and which are still active, as well as which values and positions they consider to be “out of bounds” – for instance, before studying hate propaganda one might identify the fundamental equality of all people as being a settled question, and Holocaust denial as being unacceptable – and then allow any position on an active question within those bounds to be judged on its merits as argument. For fact questions, one can teach students to identify the present consensus – not necessarily “the truth,” but what most authorities on the topic think is true, given the current evidence – while helping them understand the process by which consensus is developed in different disciplines.[44]     

As well as being open about one’s own views, it is important to explicitly model a critical attitude towards them by asking:

  • What do I already think or believe about this?
  • Why do I want to believe or disprove this?
  • What would make me change my mind?[45]

As digital investigator Jordan Wildon put it, “To investigate properly, you have to allow yourself to be wrong.”[46] This intellectual humility is the key difference between genuine digital media literacy and the circular-logic versions of it described above.[47] The goal should not be to lead students to particular perspectives, but to develop their critical loyalty: “Those with critical loyalty still hold strong values and beliefs, but they adopt a critical stance when evaluating an argument—even when it aligns with their beliefs.”[48]

Media Education should not…

In the next section, we will look at what research has identified as positive best practices for media education. First, here is a summary of how to avoid the different backfire effects described above, plus a few other common digital media literacy pitfalls.

Media education should not:

  1. Focus exclusively on negative aspects of media, tell students they’re wrong to enjoy a particular work, or tell students not to consume media at all
  2. Rely on scare tactics or cherry-picked extreme examples
  3. Treat students as helpless victims of media effects or encourage students to think media education makes them immune to media effects
  4. Tell students to “question everything” without giving them tools to answer those questions
  5. Only incorporate key concepts relating to traditional media, without recognizing the profound changes over time in how we use, consume and create media in a networked digital environment.[49]
  6. Reject valid arguments or interpretations by students, push them towards a “right” answer, or treat any one perspective or interpretation (including yours) as the correct one
  7. Focus on just one key concept, without recognizing how they interact and are sometimes in conflict (for instance, commercial pressures sometimes limit how explicitly political a news outlet can be; audiences negotiate the meaning of media texts but are still influenced by them; users can turn digital tools to their own needs, but are still limited by what can be done with the tool)
  8. Focus just on one digital media literacy competency: just making media, just analyzing it, just looking at news, just discussing its social and political implications, just encouraging civic engagement, etc.
    • In Exploring Media Literacy Education as a Tool for Mitigating Truth Decay, Huguet et al warn that digital media literacy “pulls from a nuanced body of knowledge, one that was established well before recent increases in attention to the issues of misinformation and disinformation. As a result, we recommend that practitioners and policymakers… consider not only the narrow areas of ML that appear immediately relevant (e.g., fact-checking, searching online) but rather the full body of evidence that exists about the relationship between individuals and the information ecosystem.” [50]
  9. Treat media works only as texts (thinking only about their content) or only as artifacts (thinking only about their broader social, political or commercial context)
  10. Be about teaching with media or technology, or use media as a reward such as watching the movie adaptation of a book (though this could be a media education activity if students analyze the differences between the movie and the book, or create their own movie adaptation of a scene from the book, rather than just watching the movie)
  11. Be seen as a substitute for appropriate legislation or regulation. As Sonia Livingstone, director of the Digital Futures Commission, puts it, “We cannot teach what is unlearnable, and people cannot learn to be literate in what is illegible… we cannot teach people data literacy without transparency, or what to trust without authoritative markers of authenticity and expertise. So, people’s media literacy depends on how their digital environment has been designed and regulated.”[51] But education and regulation do not have to be mutually exclusive, and in some countries have gone hand-in-hand.[52] Indeed, it is unlikely that appropriate and effective laws or regulations will be put in place without a media literate populace that understands them and the need for them.

[1] Döring, N. (2014). Consensual sexting among adolescents: Risk prevention through abstinence education or safer sexting?. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 8(1).

[2] Wineburg, S., Breakstone, J., Ziv, N., Smith, M. (2020). Educating for misunderstanding: How approaches to teaching digital literacy make students susceptible to scammers, rogues, bad actors, and hate mongers (Working Paper A-21322). Stanford History Education Group.

[3] Friesem, E. (2018). Too Much of a Good Thing? How Teachers' Enthusiasm May Lead to Protectionism in Exploring Media & Gender. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 10(1), 134-147.

[4] Petrone, R., & Borsheim, C. (2008). “It just seems to be more intelligent”: Critical literacy in high school English. Critical literacy as resistance: Teaching for social justice across the secondary curriculum, 179-206.

[5] Applebee, A. N. (1990). Book-Length Works Taught in High School English Courses. ERIC Digest.

[6] Wilhelm, J. D., Baker, T. N., & Dube, J. (2001). Strategic Reading: Guiding Students to Lifelong Literacy, 6-12. Heinemann, 88 Post Road West, PO Box 5007, Westport, CT 06881.

[7] Weinstein, J. R., & Loewen, J. W. (2012). Lies My Teacher Told Me.

[8] Iglarsh, H. (2020) “Advertising vs. Democracy: An Interview with Jean Kilbourne.” CounterPunch. Retrieved from <>

[9] Kellner, D., & Share, J. (2005). Toward critical media literacy: Core concepts, debates, organizations, and policy. Discourse: Studies in the cultural politics of education, 26(3), 369-386.

[10] Petrone, R., & Borsheim, C. (2008). “It just seems to be more intelligent”: Critical literacy in high school English. Critical literacy as resistance: Teaching for social justice across the secondary curriculum, 179-206.

[11] Fyles, N. (2018). “What about the boys? Educating boys for gender justice.” Brookings. Retrieved from <>

[12] Friesem, E. (2018). Too Much of a Good Thing? How Teachers' Enthusiasm May Lead to Protectionism in Exploring Media & Gender. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 10(1), 134-147.

[13] Friesem, E. (2018). Too Much of a Good Thing? How Teachers' Enthusiasm May Lead to Protectionism in Exploring Media & Gender. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 10(1), 134-147.

[14] Buckingham, D. (2007). Digital Media Literacies: rethinking media education in the age of the Internet. Research in comparative and international education, 2(1), 43-55.

[15] Chung, S., & Cho, H. (2017). Fostering parasocial relationships with celebrities on social media: Implications for celebrity endorsement. Psychology & Marketing, 34(4), 481-495.

[16] O'Toole, D. (2020). Translating the experience of drowning to film form (Doctoral dissertation, Queen's University Belfast).

[17] Koch, S., Lohmann, M., Geppert, J., Stamminger, R., Epp, A., & Böl, G. F. (2021). Kitchen hygiene in the spotlight: How cooking shows influence viewers’ hygiene practices. Risk Analysis, 41(1), 131-140.

[18] Mihailidis, P. (2008). Beyond cynicism: How media literacy can make students more engaged citizens. University of Maryland, College Park.

[19] Bennett, J. (2020) “What if instead of calling people out, we called them in?” The New York Times.

[20] Sagarin, B. J., & Cialdini, R. B. (2004). Creating critical consumers: Motivating receptivity by teaching resistance. Resistance and persuasion, 259-282.

[21] Talwar, S., Dhir, A., Singh, D., Virk, G. S., & Salo, J. (2020). Sharing of fake news on social media: Application of the honeycomb framework and the third-person effect hypothesis. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 57, 102197.

[22] Mihailidis, P. (2008). Beyond cynicism: How media literacy can make students more engaged citizens. University of Maryland, College Park.

[23] Valkenburg, P. M., Peter, J., & Walther, J. B. (2016). Media effects: Theory and research. Annual review of psychology, 67, 315-338.

[24] Sagarin, B. J., & Cialdini, R. B. (2004). Creating critical consumers: Motivating receptivity by teaching resistance. Resistance and persuasion, 259-282.

[25] Huguet, A., Kavanagh, J., Baker, G., & Blumenthal, M. S. (2019). Exploring media literacy education as a tool for mitigating truth decay. RAND Corporation.

[26] For example, if digital media literacy generally fosters cynicism over skepticism, we would expect jurisdictions with a longer history of media education to show less trust in media and be less resilient to disinformation, while in fact the reverse is true. See Humprecht, E., Esser, F., & Van Aelst, P. (2020). Resilience to online disinformation: A framework for cross-national comparative research. The International Journal of Press/Politics, 25(3), 493-516.

[27] Huguet, A., Kavanagh, J., Baker, G., & Blumenthal, M. S. (2019). Exploring media literacy education as a tool for mitigating truth decay. RAND Corporation.

[28] Jarry, J. (2021) “Putting some skeptical mantras to bed.” The Skeptic. Retrieved from <

[29] Caulfield, M. (2018) “Cynicism, not gullibility, will kill our humanity.” Hapgood. Retrieved from <>

[30] Greene, J. A., & Yu, S. B. (2016). Educating critical thinkers: The role of epistemic cognition. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 3(1), 45-53.

[31] Caulfield, M. (2018) “Media literacy is about where to spend your trust. But you have to spend it somewhere.” Hapgood. Retrieved from <>

[32] Greene, J. A., & Yu, S. B. (2016). Educating critical thinkers: The role of epistemic cognition. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 3(1), 45-53.

[33] Greene, J. A., & Yu, S. B. (2016). Educating critical thinkers: The role of epistemic cognition. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 3(1), 45-53.

[34] Sagarin, B. J., & Cialdini, R. B. (2004). Creating critical consumers: Motivating receptivity by teaching resistance. Resistance and persuasion, 259-282.

[35] Caulfield, M. (2018) “Cynicism, not gullibility, will kill our humanity.” Hapgood. Retrieved from <>

[36] Caulfield, M. (2018) “Recalibrating our approach to misinformation.” EdSurge. Retrieved from <>

[37] Burnett, C., & Merchant, G. (2019). Revisiting critical literacy in the digital age. The Reading Teacher, 73(3), 263-266.

[38] Friesem, E. (2018). Too Much of a Good Thing? How Teachers' Enthusiasm May Lead to Protectionism in Exploring Media & Gender. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 10(1), 134-147.

[39] González Jr, P. A. (2013, October). Noam Chomsky Propaganda Model: A Critical Evaluation. Saint. (It should be noted that González views Chomsky’s model rather more positively.)

[40] McCrea, A. (2021). “Satanic panics and the death of mythos.” Current Affairs. Retrieved from <>

[41] Fister, Barbara. (2021) “Reimagining information literacy in the QAnon era.” Retrieved from <>

[42] Huguet, A., Kavanagh, J., Baker, G., & Blumenthal, M. S. (2019). Exploring media literacy education as a tool for mitigating truth decay. RAND Corporation.

[43] McAvoy, P., & Hess, D. (2013). Classroom deliberation in an era of political polarization. Curriculum Inquiry, 43(1), 14-47.

[44] McAvoy, P., & Hess D. (2013) Classroom Deliberation in an Era of Political Polarization.”  McAvoy and Hess use the terms "open" and ”closed” rather than ”active" and ”settled.” Because describing a question as ”open” or ”closed” in teaching practice often refers to whether or not the question is open-ended, I have opted for the latter terms for clarity.

[45] Gelder, T. V. (2005). Teaching critical thinking: Some lessons from cognitive science. College teaching, 53(1), 41-48.

[46] Wildon, J. [@JordanWildon] “When you work in investigations full-time, a dead-end is a dead-end, for those who don't, dead-ends become cover-ups. To investigate properly, you have to allow yourself to be wrong. Verify, verify, verify.” Twitter, 21 September 2021.

[47] Koetke, J., Schumann, K., & Porter, T. (2021). Intellectual Humility Predicts Scrutiny of COVID-19 Misinformation. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 1948550620988242.

[48] Hodgin, E., & Kahne, J. (2018). Misinformation in the information age: What teachers can do to support students. Social Education, 82(4), 208-212.

[49] Notley, T., & Dezuanni, M. (2019). Advancing children’s news media literacy: learning from the practices and experiences of young Australians. Media, Culture & Society, 41(5), 689-707.

[50] Huguet, A., Kavanagh, J., Baker, G., & Blumenthal, M. S. (2019). Exploring media literacy education as a tool for mitigating truth decay. RAND Corporation.

[51] Livingstone, S. (2018) “Media literacy – everyone’s favourite solution to the problems of regulation.” London School of Economics Blog. Retrieved from <>

[52] Rantala, L. (2011). Finnish media literacy education policies and best practices in early childhood education and care since 2004. Journal of media literacy education, 3(2), 123-133.