We should teach media literacy in elementary school

November 8, 2018

Nowadays, a typical news session begins with us logging on to our preferred social media website in the morning to catch up on what we missed while we slept. We quickly scroll past the memes from high-school friends or extended family, rolling our eyes at their attempts to ridicule opposing viewpoints with a few characters’ worth of oversimplified, clickbait logic. After debating whether to deploy the “block content” button, we move on to consuming self-aligned content whose conclusions support our own existing views. We indulge in self-validation for a few more minutes and then log off, baffled as to how anyone could possibly ever think differently than we do.

It’s a script that rose to the national spotlight during the 2016 election and one that appears to have become more and more prevalent as we near the 2018 midterms, especially recently as the nation reels over the Kavanaugh controversy and contentious DACA rulings.

We increasingly rely on social media platforms as mediums to interpret and disseminate political information. Consequently, tech giants such as Facebook and Twitter have come under close scrutiny for the ways they mediate and censor these discussions. In particular, they have been accused of providing a safe house for “fake news”—online content rife with misinformation that can lead to political hyperpolarization.