Kids and Credibility
6.7.10 | “Kids and Credibility: An Empirical Examination of Youth, Digital Media Use, and Information Credibility” reports on a web survey of children ages 11 to 18 and their parents.
Authors Andrew Flanagin and Miriam Metzger, both associate professors of communication at the University of California, Santa Barbara, say many of their findings run counter to the widely held belief that kids are so immersed in technology that they are blind to any of its shortcomings.
“Kids are skeptical of the right kinds of things,” Metzger told Spotlight in an interview late last year, referring to safety issues such as strangers online as well as the credibility of blogs.
But findings also show kids were not skeptical enough about health or entertainment information they found online, and that older children are, predictably, more rigorous in their assessment of online information than younger kids.
Those surveyed found Wikipedia was a less credible source for information than other online encyclopedias (Britannica and Citizendium), but when presented with brand-neutral content, they preferred information from Wikipedia. Kids also said that others should view information from Wikipedia with greater trepidation than they do themselves.
The findings present a complex picture of how young people today are navigating the information super highway. It’s worth a read.
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