What is fake news for kids?

Fake news is false information shared under the guise of news to mislead or deceive others.

People may share fake news so that they can:

  • make money through advertising;
  • promote ideas and beliefs about organizations, companies, or ideologies;
  • trick or entertain people;
  • promote their personal opinions.

What types of fake news articles are there?

Here’s a breakdown of the two distinct types of fake news articles for kids:


Misinformation is false or misleading information that is shared without the intent to mislead or deceive people. It is often not done deliberately and can be shared because an individual or group believes the information they share is accurate.


  • Disinformation is false or misleading information that is shared to deceive others intentionally. For example, it can be transferred to make people develop opinions about a particular person, organization, or ideology that the writer wants them to believe for their gain.
  • The term has been used to describe information spread by influential groups such as the government to spread lies to the public. It can then make the public feel or act in a certain way. With the rise of the internet, disinformation is often used to describe false information that an organization or an individual has deliberately spread.
  • Disinformation can be spread online or in print to spread lies about something that the creator agrees or disagrees with. In addition, it is a way to encourage others to agree with the creator’s ideologies or opinions on a specific topic.
  • In other circumstances, disinformation can be spread purely to make money. By getting people to click on an article, creators can make money through advertising. The information often has to be particularly shocking or appeal to specific groups through confirmation bias, for example.

Nine ways you can spot fake news.

  1. Errors

You can spot misinformation by checking for accidental errors such as pronoun usage, statistics, and whether the dates look accurate. Spelling, punctuation, and grammar (SPaG) is also excellent way to detect whether a site is trustworthy. If it is riddled with SPaG errors, then it is a sign that the content is not going through quality checks, which puts into question whether there is a real organization behind the site. It also implies that those writing the content are not trained or professional journalists and are, in fact, scam artists. It is worth noting that a small error on a site does not necessarily mean that it can not be trusted – large news organizations have these all the time. The mistakes to look out for are those that are frequently repeated and intrusive.

  1. Is it a joke?

Lots of the time, people may share misinformation because they take a joke seriously. Information is often shared online to entertain people rather than inform them. However, if somebody reads an article and believes it to be accurate, they may share it with others as factual information when it is not.

  1. Is it from a reliable source?

If the information shared online is a joke, then it may be shared by a site known for releasing parody articles. Checking this before the content is taken seriously is a must.

Some websites can try to appear trustworthy while not being so. Looking through the site for information contradicted by other articles released is one good way of checking its reliability. You could also decide whether the site looks professional, if there are many pop-up adverts, and if they have any legitimate contact information.

If you aren’t sure whether to trust the site, use your favorite search engine to see what others have said about the area. Online reviews, blog posts, or videos may warn others not to use the site. When looking for this content, it is worth being critical of the information shared. Some may claim that a website is untrustworthy to promote its website.

  1. Is there bias?

Bias is an underlying opinion, point of view, or perspective of the world that guides your actions. Everyone has a bias in some sense, but it can be tricky to detect within fake news. Lots of stories can be presented as facts as well as opinions. It makes them particularly hard to label as having bias.

One way to check whether a story is biased is to look at a different publication to see how the topic has been represented. For example, suppose the author of the text has missed out on specific facts or presented certain pieces of information particularly positively or negatively. In that case, it could not be very objective. It is because news creators sometimes want to persuade their audience of a particular viewpoint without directly telling them to believe the information.

Another way to detect bias is to see whether the statements in the text can be fact-checked or argued against. If they can not be adequately fact-checked or measured and can be challenged by an opposing opinion, then it is probably an opinion rather than fact.

  1. Confirmation bias

Confirmation bias is the willingness to believe something because it aligns with our existing beliefs. For example, it may occur when a person reads a news article that describes how great a particular political leader is. Readers easily believe the information because it is what they want to hear. SomeLikewise, some organizations release inf

  1. Is it advertising something?

Bias often exists in advertising. However, advertisements are not always as apparent as TV commercials. Sometimes blogs or news articles can make readers feel they need to buy a particular product or invest in some service. Some companies even sponsor news organizations to talk about their product, like a piece of news, to get more people to buy it.

  1. Check the date

If the article was released on April Fools’ Day and the content does not seem believable, it is probably a joke. Unfortunately, even reputable news organizations release fake news on April Fools’ Day, so only checking whether the site is trustworthy is not always enough.

Checking the date is also an excellent way to know whether the information in the article is trustworthy. For example, let’s say it isn’t April Fools’ Day, but you still don’t trust the data. Cross-referencing the article’s date with the content shared is an excellent way to gauge whether the information released is real or fake news. For example, if the news story is dated in the summer and proposes that there will be snow on Christmas day, it is unlikely to be true.

  1. Look at the images used

Often the images used for fake news articles are not related to the article and are used to make people click on the full version. However, some people online can make money on the number of clicks an article gets, so if the image looks like it could be clickbait due to it looking particularly shocking, you may not be able to trust the content.

Images can be altered to make the news story seem legitimate. For example, photos can be airbrushed, retouched, and cropped. To spot whether an image has been edited, look for missing objects, repeated images, patterns that do not match up, filters, and smudges.

  1. Does the headline seem legitimate?

As we mentioned, some people receive money for each click they receive on a specific page. Another way to sense whether it is clickbait is to analyze the headline. Ask yourself whether it sounds particularly dramatic, sounds made-up, or if it is simply impossible. Often with these sorts of articles, the story itself is pretty bland, but the headline or image from the thumbnail will take the most dramatic parts of the story and exaggerate them to increase the number of clicks they receive.

Why is it important for children to learn about fake news?

Fake news for kids can be confusing as the information presented online often looks very believable. Some organizations exist to make money, while others produce fake news to promote specific ideologies. While some fake news is simple misinformation, children must learn how to spot it, so they do not spread it themselves.

Getting children to learn how to spot fake news through learning the types of fake news and its contents is a great way to help them develop critical thinking skills. In addition, it will enable them to understand the concept of agenda, reliability, and validity.

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