klicksafe manual supports young people in forming political opinions

A new manual from klicksafe supports young people in dealing competently with fake news and conspiracy narratives and helps them to form an informed political opinion in the super election year 2021. The new klicksafe handbook "Forming Opinions in the Digital World" focuses on opinion-forming skills that young people need in order to be able to assess information in a differentiated way and develop their own stance, even on the way to their first election decisions.

In the super-election year 2021, many young people will make a political choice for the first time. Today, these elections are decided in a media public sphere in which false reports, populist narratives and conspiracy narratives are increasingly becoming dangers for democratic processes. A lack of competence in dealing with these phenomena fuels distrust of politics, science and journalism and ultimately strengthens anti-democratic forces. It is therefore important that young people, as the voters of tomorrow, learn at an early age to evaluate and classify information competently and to form a political opinion based on facts.

In addition to the formation of personal opinions on everyday issues, the formation of political opinions for young people is a prerequisite for democratic participation. It contributes to the consolidation of ideological positions and leads to informed and well thought-out voting decisions. This includes assessing election programs, evaluating statements made by politicians in the media, and classifying news and media reports on political issues as well as corresponding opinions expressed on the Internet.

The handbook from the klicksafe series "Ethik macht klick" uses a roadmap to explain how opinion-forming is linked to a functioning democracy, what the dangers of disinformation are, and what skills young people need in order to reliably form a (political) opinion and be able to represent it. This factual information is supplemented by twelve practical projects with worksheets for use in the classroom. With the help of the worksheets, students learn to recognize fake news and conspiracy narratives, to evaluate the credibility of (online) sources, to separate facts from opinions, and thus to form an informed opinion and stand up for it fairly and respectfully.

Birgit Kimmel, head of the EU initiative klicksafe: "In order to be able to participate actively and in an informed manner in social discourse, young people should be able to develop a basic understanding of their own role in digital public spheres, which requires them to deal with information in a reflective manner due to their own reach and multiplication effects. This includes both an awareness of the existence and effects of disinformation and their own critical approach to manipulative content and misinformation. Students should be encouraged and supported in standing up for their own opinions, even against their own peer group, parents or teachers."

Empowering young people to assume their social responsibility

The interdisciplinary working material combines a media pedagogical and a media ethical perspective on the topic of opinion formation. It was developed by the EU initiative klicksafe and the Institute for Digital Ethics (IDE) at Stuttgart Media University. The Episcopal Media Foundation of the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart participated in funding the project.

Professor Petra Grimm, head of the Institute for Digital Ethics (IDE) at Stuttgart Media University: "A particular concern of the handbook is to help young people develop an attitude that values truth. The goal is for young people to become aware of their own responsibility as part of society. They should recognize why it is important to distinguish facts from opinions and the impact that misinformation has on democratic society. If everyone has their own facts and crafts their own reality, then it's no longer possible to communicate about problems in a society and look for common solutions."

The new klicksafe handbook is aimed at teachers and can be ordered and downloaded from klicksafe:

Press contact

EU initiative klicksafe: Medienanstalt Rheinland-Pfalz, Deborah Woldemichael, woldemichael⁠☞ Please insert an @ here ☜⁠medienanstalt-rlp⁠☞ Please insert a dot here ☜⁠de, Tel: 0621 52 02 271,

Institute for Digital Ethics: Karla Neef, e-mail: neef⁠☞ Please insert an @ here ☜⁠hdm-stuttgart⁠☞ Please insert a dot here ☜⁠de, Tel.: 0711 8923 2234

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 (coordination) and in North Rhine-Westphalia. The website provides users with 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 eco, FSM and as well as the helpline Nummer gegen Kummer.