By Rev. Marty Levesque
Many parents will blame their children's rowdy behaviour on too much sugar, but there's no actual evidence to support this claim.
A definitive 1995 meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that sugar in children's diets does not affect their behaviour. But it is a piece of fake news that is commonly accepted as fact.
Fake news and disinformation are common online. Each year various celebrities must tweet out replies to their fans that they have, in fact, not died. It is important, not just for children, but for all of us in the church to be aware of fake news and disinformation.
Here are a few tips on how to spot fake news and disinformation to help protect yourself and those we love and serve.
Check for the author’s name. Is the name available or is it missing? What are their qualifications? A simple Google search will help you confirm the author's credentials.
Does the article inform you of all sides of the topic? News articles should provide you with facts from various viewpoints. Does the content match the headline of the article? A headline should provide you with an idea of what the entire article is about.
Older articles may not contain up-to-date facts and might have broken links. Individuals sharing an older article may discover that some information has been disproven or debunked. Run a search to see if there are similar articles written by other news organizations.
With few exceptions URLs including their domains (.ca, .com, etc.), can be purchased by anyone. Many domains do not have any requirements to register. Some individuals trick users by using domain names to imitate an organization’s official site.
What is the purpose of the information? To inform or to persuade? Is the article or online content informative in some way? What information is it giving you? Try to think critically about the information you receive. Be skeptical! Can you verify the facts? Are sources offered? Can you evaluate the sources? If there are links on the page, where do they take you?
Taking a step back to ask yourself some basic questions and look a little further into a piece of information will help everyone share the best and most accurate information. And in an age of disinformation and fake news, it is also a great way to protect and love your neighbour.
Rev. Marty Levesque is the diocesan social media officer and rector of All Saints’ in Waterloo. firstname.lastname@example.org