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Posts Tagged ‘fearmongering

A local news report seeks to clickbait with its headline instead of educate. Again.

The number 129 might seem like a large number. It actually represents just 0.03% of all students in Singapore (primary to pre-university levels). That is part of the context.

The other part is that students are actually safer in school due to safe management measures [1] [2]. The distancing, hygiene, and modified classroom practices [3] mean that students are probably at greater risk in transit to/from school when they interact with adults who are less fastidious.

Such context provides quantitative and qualitative arguments for educating the general public. Such arguments make us smarter and more confident of our actions. Reading clickbait keeps us in the state of ignorance and fear.

One aspect of modern information literacy is not just reading beyond the headline, it is also about reading wide to other valid and reliable sources of information. Then another element of information literacy should kick in: Evaluating the original article for its worth.

The tweet above samples headline of yesteryears. Today the headlines could read mobile phones, video games, and social media. 

What does not change is people fearing what they chose not to use or understand. It does not take courage to overcome that kind of fear. It takes a modicum of effort. 

If I have any resolve at all, it is to always put int the effort to try and to learn as I age. I do not wish to live in fear. 

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The press peddles this because it is easier to focus on dangers and fear.

Such clickbait might work in terms of getting attention. But it does not necessarily work to accurately and factually inform, to educate, and to change minds.

This does not mean there are no dangers or that we ignore what is negative. It does mean that we also highlight what is useful and positive as well as how to mitigate what is not.

Technologies push and pull us forward, often to places with new possibilities, no rules, and unseen consequences. We can paint such movement as dangerous — demonic as the graphic in the tweet illustrates — or try to provide more balance.


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