THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Ayush Raj A, a class 7 student of GUPS, Puthoor in Palakkad would have believed a misleading forwarded message on WhatsApp claiming that Covid vaccination was harmful had he not known what ‘misinformation’ or ‘fake news’ was. Thanks to the ‘Satyameva Jayathe’ digital media literacy programme organised by the Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE), the 12-year-old knew how to get the information verified from authentic sources.
“We were taught not to blindly fall for messages on social media and to cross-check dubious information from genuine sources,” said Ayush who underwent the programme in which one of the important topics was ‘Fake News Prevention and Awareness Creation’. Ayush was among the 19.72 lakh students from classes five 10 who were imparted the digital literacy training.
Each student was provided with 2.5-hour-long training in four sections --- ‘Use of Internet in Day-To-Day Life’, ‘Social Media Requires Us’, ‘Rights and Wrongs in Social Media’ and ‘How to Prevent Spread of Fake News’. The training also focused on areas such as understanding the influence of digital media in information transaction, creating urge towards knowing non-factual interference in digital media and how to react to them in a constructive manner, acquiring technical knowledge in understanding the truth behind transacted messages, developing skills to identify and react to glitches in information transaction through media literacy.
Training was also given in specific areas such ‘Meaning and Definition of Misinformation and Dis-Information and their impact in society’, non-factual and misinterpreted information shared through digital media, social impact of facts presented in an emotional language and authenticity of information. “In addition to the training programme for students, KITE VICTERS channel will telecast all these classes in four episodes starting from Monday (October 10) to Thursday at 7 PM for the general public, “ said K Anvar Sadath, CEO, KITE.
Under the third phase of the training programme that began in August, 9.48 lakh upper primary students and 10.24 lakh high school students were trained by 5,920 instructors. DGHSS Tanur in Malappuram district had the maximum number of students trained (3,691) in the government school category while St Mary’s HSS Pattom in Thiruvananthapuram district topped in the aided school category (7,467).
“Cybersecurity was another domain the students found very helpful. Most of them did not know how passwords need to be protected to avoid online misuse. They were also told about the implications of posting objectionable content on social media,” said Sindhu S of GVHSS Vattiyoorkavu, who was part of the training programme.