RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — Joseph Kahne, a professor of educational policy and politics in UC Riverside’s Graduate School of Education, is available to speak to media about how young people distinguish between real and fake news, and what educators can do to improve media literacy among their students.
In his latest study on young people’s political development and the factors that shape it, Kahne drew on a nationally representative survey to examine whether youth can distinguish between accurate and inaccurate online posts about controversial policy issues.
Surprisingly, he found that the amount of political knowledge youth had did not make a difference. Regardless of how knowledgeable they were, youth judged both accurate and inaccurate posts as accurate, so long as those posts aligned with their views. However, he also found that media literacy learning experiences had a large and statistically significant impact on young people’s ability to accurately distinguish between accurate and inaccurate posts.
“As long as individuals can’t or choose not to distinguish between information and misinformation, there will be a market for fake news. We believe this is the first study to demonstrate that educators can successfully respond to this problem,” Kahne said.
Kahne holds the Ted and Jo Dutton Presidential Chair in Educational Policy and Politics at UCR. His latest research, published in the American Educational Research Journal, was coauthored with Ben Bowyer, a lecturer in political science at Santa Clara University.