To turn school children aged 10-15 into powerful lie detectors in an online world increasingly populated by conspiracy theories and propaganda.
To enable children to understand the difference between news, news bias and fiction, through interactive school assembly and classroom sessions.
To empower children to make informed choices and resist peer pressure as they assemble their world view, basing it on information they understand and trust.
Why it matters
Fake news creates a confusing, frightening world for people of all ages, pressuring them into adopting views without understanding their intention. LIE DETECTORS is a non-profit that helps teenagers and pre-teens learn how to spot and resist the growing volume of manipulative media crowding their Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat accounts as they start to forge an independent world view. A proliferation of news and fake-news sources, distribution networks and social media – combined with a greater polarisation by mainstream press – make it increasingly hard to tell fact from fiction. Growing numbers of young people report being turned off politics because of a feeling of alienation in the face of misinformation.
LIE DETECTORS has no interest in telling young people what to think. It aims to empower them to base their choices on reliable information and be actively aware of bias and persuasion. It also aims to make young people attuned to the ideals and hurdles of news production, whose results they consume on a daily basis. Child safety is nothing new: children worldwide have long been taught not to accept sweets from strangers. As they increase their consumption of media, they need news literacy to do so wisely.
How we do it
LIE DETECTORS deploys journalist volunteers to teach classroom sessions, recruiting them primarily from alumni circles of recognized journalism schools. Country focus will begin in Belgium and Germany.
Professional journalists teach the 45-minute sessions in the presence of a teacher, offering follow-up material where desired. Sessions include an overview of fake news, methods of testing for misinformation, and analysis of drivers of the fake-news phenomenon. Interactive sections – designed to suit the relevant age group – help children understand how mainstream media selects news and may insert bias to present a picture of reality that is often incomplete. Material for homework or follow-up sessions – where – allows children to develop deeper a understanding of selective storytelling and perspective.
“Days after your presentation, they are still talking about the things they learned during your visit.”
“Can you come back next week?”
“A good number teachers will be interested in being trained in media literacy by you as a journalist, also in order to follow up on your sessions.”
“It is good that I learn this now, and not later, because we are a lot on social media and then it is important to know this.”
Who we are