Have you ever fallen for an Internet hoax? We all know it’s easy to pass around unreliable information and even easier to fall prey to the deliberate lies floating around cyberspace.
Share this video with your teens [2:12]:
“Digital Bytes: Internet Hoaxes”
When you finish watching the news clip, discuss the following questions:
- Can you remember ever falling for a story you read on the Internet that ended up being fake? What was it—and why did you think it was true? (We sometimes believe things simply because it’s in print or because our friend posted a news story. Let students share their experiences.)
- Why is the Internet increasingly unreliable? (There is very little accountability or fact-checking online. The anonymity of an author or the secrecy behind source material makes it very difficult to test the reliability of what we are seeing and reading.)
- Are certain groups more susceptible to being duped by a false story? (Answers will vary. Some might say that teenagers and children are most vulnerable. Others might cite senior citizens or those falling prey to “confirmation bias”—the phenomenon where we are more likely to believe something false if it lines up with what we really want to hear.)
- What are some things to look for when deciding the reliability of a source? (The credibility of an organization, its past practices, the number of experts consulted, the motive behind the story, the evidence from eyewitness accounts, and so forth can all speak to the reliability of what we read and hear.)
It’s easy to become a skeptic in an age of loose facts, and these days doubt seems much easier to adopt than assurance. But when it comes to the Bible, a book that has been meticulously studied for centuries, we can have faith that it is a trustworthy place to learn about God and His message to mankind.