Survey: Most Latvian teenagers are not taught media literacy at school

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Most students say schools do not teach how to verify information on the Internet, a recent survey by the Latvian Safer Internet Center shows. Maija Katkovska, head of the center, told Latvian Television about the results December 8.

1,000 children and adolescents aged 11 to 17 were surveyed in Latvia. Altogether, more than 5,000 teens in the Baltic States, Finland, and Sweden participated in the study.

The survey findings show that a third or 34% of children and young people in Latvia often face false information in the Internet environment. Nearly half, or 47% of respondents, say that they face such information sometimes. Most commonly it is clickbait and in most cases it is gossip about famous people. 62% of the respondents said they sometimes checked the information before sharing it, 28% did it often, whereas 10% said they never did.

 Nearly half of the Latvian respondents (45%) said they trusted Wikipedia as a reliable source of information, however, only 39% said they trusted news portals. For comparison, in Finland and Sweden, children trust news portals significantly more, while social media – significantly less than in Latvia.

A key role in the fight against misinformation lies on the parents, as 64% of the surveyed children trust parental opinion, the results show.

More than half, or 57% of children, say they haven't been taught at school how to verify information on the Internet. This figure, among the surveyed countries, was only higher in Lithuania at 63%. For comparison, only 29% of the respondents claimed to not have been taught about it at school in Sweden. 

Half of the Latvian respondents (51%) think their school teaches enough about reliable information on the Internet, whereas 49% think the opposite.

The study was conducted in Latvia with the support of Telia Latvija.

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