PARENT QUESTIONS - How do I protect my child from fake news?

klicksafe supports parents with tips and new material

Whether homeschooling or virtual leisure substitutes: never before have young people been online as much as at the time of the Corona pandemic. At the same time, the spread of disinformation and extremist propaganda on the Internet has increased sharply. But how can I tell if news is real or fake, and how do I deal with disinformation? Even parents are often at a loss here. The EU initiative klicksafe helps families to assess content correctly and to react competently to it. It offers new information material, practical tips and background knowledge.

Ludwigshafen/Düsseldorf, May 3, 2021 - Most young people (86%) have already encountered false news online - this is shown by a recent forsa survey commissioned by klicksafe among young people aged 14 to 24. An equally large majority (90%) is aware that disinformation can be a danger to society. Nevertheless, a quarter (25%) of respondents do not believe they can always reliably distinguish fake news from real news. Around one-third (31%) estimate that it would be easier for them to distinguish between fake news and real news if they could talk about it in their personal environment.

In the future, the EU initiative klicksafe will be able to provide even more support to parents in particular. Currently, klicksafe's experts are answering frequent questions from parents on the Facebook channel(, including questions about fake news, social bots and deep fakes. At , parents can also find even more information, a family checklist for dealing with disinformation and conspiracy ideologies, the klicksafe brochure "Do you still trust or do you already check?" and other detailed background material. With just a few clicks, they can see what knowledge and skills they should teach their children and what they might be able to learn more about themselves.

klicksafe also supports parents as a personal contact for questions and as a media education competence center. The EU initiative has one important goal: to enable children and young people to use the Internet in a safe, self-determined and fair manner.

Disinformation: Personal and social danger

Self-determined and safe use of the Internet includes being aware of the dark side of the medium and being armed against it. Almost all (90%) of the young people surveyed by forsa believe that the spread of fake news actually poses a threat to society - in the form of general uncertainty and even panic, but also in the form of very specific hatred, incitement to hatred, exclusion, discrimination and real violence. Two-thirds (68 %) also believe that the targeted dissemination of fake news could endanger democracy, for example by making it susceptible to extremist propaganda. The recently published JIM Study 2020 on media use by 12- to 19-year-olds proves that this threat is also quite real: 45% and 43% of respondents have recently encountered extreme political views and conspiracy narratives, respectively, while surfing. Younger teenagers in particular report much more frequently about such content.

The same study also shows that misinformation can also be a personal danger. This is because 29% of young people stated that insulting or false statements had already been spread about them on the net - around 10% more than in previous years. Here, the shift of "Corona everyday life" to the Internet is obviously having a clear effect.

klicksafe's experts advise users to be careful with information disseminated online, to check statements, images, videos and sources as carefully as possible, and not to contribute to the spread of false news by overzealous forwarding. Further advice is available at ready.


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forsa survey on Safer Internet Day 2021

About klicksafe

klicksafe aims to promote people's online competence and to support them in their competent and critical use of the Internet with a wide range of offers. The EU initiative is politically and economically independent and is implemented in Germany by the media institutions in Rhineland-Palatinate (coordinator) and in North Rhine-Westphalia.

On the website , users can find a wide range of up-to-date information, practical tips and teaching materials on digital services and topics. The target groups are teachers, educators, parents, children, young people and multipliers.

klicksafe is the national German awareness center and is funded by the CEF Telecom Program of the European Union. Since 2008, klicksafe has also coordinated the Safer Internet Centre DE, which includes the Internet hotlines of ecoFSM and , as well as the helpline Nummer gegen Kummer nbsp;.