Sunday, February 6, 2011

Does the Internet make children more gullible?

Professor Donald Leu, University of Connecticut, and colleagues showed teenagers a fictional website about a "tree octopus" and many took it for fact. The authors of the study conclude that schools need to teach students how to critically evaluate the trustworthiness of internet ressources.

The question arises how do you effectively judge the trustworthiness of a website? Do you trust information because it's being presented by a major website (for example the New York Times or BBC)? Do you trust a site that has a professional layout? To what degree can you trust information on Wikipedia? How do you find out about hidden agendas behind certain websites (for example pharmaceutical companies which host medical information websites)?

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