The new generation of teens shows a tendency of avoiding television and taking information from the online world. While the Internet has an abundance of quality news sources, it is also hosting fake news. This situation dates back from the beginning of websites. However, with millions of new online pages created with the purpose of delivering news, it has become harder to distinguish quality articles from the fake ones. This is why California lawmakers are introducing a new bill to restore the constructive power of the Internet.
On Wednesday, Jimmy Gomez from Los Angeles who is a Democratic Assemblyman introduced the AB155 bill. The intention of this new program is to help teen students learn to choose their sources of information the right way. The high school students will beneficiate a financed program that will teach them how to decide if a website or newspaper delivers fake news or not.
This proactive measure is not a singular case. The Democratic State Senator Bill Dodd started the same proposal in Napa too. His bill intends to encourage the board of education to introduce a media literacy program for students.
On the other hand, this series of bills have been encountered with a wave of critics. Some people are of the opinion that such actions shouldn’t be forced to students by the law. Instead, the teens themselves have to have the right capabilities to choose real sources of information by themselves. At the same time, the President-Elect Donald Trump has pronounced himself completely against the popularity that the fake news is starting to acquire. Moreover, he named Facebook as one of the companies that supported the existence of suspicious sources of information.
Part of the public is of the opinion that people have to possess the ability of discernment. This is something that comes natural and cannot be asserted by powerful external agents such as the law. On the other hand, there are many people who support these bills. Students need to have a clear perception of the source of the news and be aware of its level of reliability.
Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez based his bill on a recent Stanford study. According to this paper, young people are more susceptible to being influenced into believing the fake news. Gomez is of the opinion that manipulative and misleading actions represent a threat to the idea of democracy.
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