Tuesday, July 30, 2013
How difficult is it, in this day and age of technology, to check information before you spread it all over the internet? I mean, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to check legitimate, reliable sources, which are available at our fingertips...any time of the day or night, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Does it?
Well, DOES IT?!?!
I suppose when the school year is in session, I don't have the spare time to read the absolute nonsense that people post on the internet, especially on social media. I guess it's a good thing I don't, or I would find myself raging quite often...and would want to track people down via their IP address and give them a piece of my mind face-to-face!
In an effort to be reasonable, let me explain...
I teach sixth grade students. I expect them to walk in my classroom, quite often, and spout off about whatever recent rumor, chain email, celebrity gossip, or unfounded claim they've read on their social media newsfeed. I expect it, I'm prepared for it, and I take the time to teach my students about checking sources, not believing everything they read, and knowing how to track down information. I tell them that spreading a lie makes them a part of it.
While I expect this kind of poor judgement from eleven and twelve-year-olds, I do not expect it from grown adults. Children are still learning about how to decipher good information from bad information. Grown adults should have learned this by now. You don't have to be a researcher...or a teacher...or have a college education to know how to put a little effort into finding out if the information you so readily "copy and paste" to your Facebook site is actually - even remotely, even just a little bit - TRUE.
Are you concerned what you're posting may be untrue, but you don't really know how to make sure if what you're reading (and passing on to everyone else as the truth) IS really true or not? No problem. Let me help you out. Here is a simple video from Youtube. No worries, it's a little more than three minutes long. It might actually take less time to watch it than it does for you to read misinformation, believe it, and copy and paste it to pass it on. ;)
By the way, the video is from Australia. I enjoy the young lady's presentation and her accent. If you don't like that one, there are plenty more. Just search Youtube for videos on how to find reliable resources.
Remember when I asked you a couple of paragraphs back, "Are you concerned what you're posting may be untrue..."? If your answer, in your own mind, was a smirk and something along the lines of, "I don't really care if what I post or tweet or write is true, even though I'm passing it off as being true...and may even believe it's true...without knowing," then let me say to you what I say to my students:
You have a responsibility to this world to be a good citizen, to acquire knowledge and add something to the world around you. If you aren't adding something positive to the world around you, then you are taking away from it or adding something negative.
Now, for my students, I try to encourage them to make good choices. They are children, they are still learning. There is hope for them. I believe there is hope for us all.
However, should you choose to take away from the world or add something negative to it, please make sure you are not "friends" with me on Facebook...or in real life, for that matter. Make sure you don't pass on negative chain emails to me or ignorant statistics about what is going on in the real world I am a part of and know how to check your statistics and unfounded rumors against reliable sources.
I realize there is nothing I can do about all the ignorance that abounds on the internet. I can, however, control the flow of ignorance my own eyes read on my social media and my emails. I can, and do, control what I watch on television and the books I read. I believe, as I tell my students, that when you take in "brain garbage" then garbage is what your brain gives you back.
Please help stop ignorance! It really is a growing epidemic. Check your sources. If you don't want to do that, then don't pass on the information.