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Description: Who is most susceptible to fake news? Children? Young adults? Middle aged adults? The elderly?  Let’s leave children out of the question for now as their fake news exposures and uptakes are, at least to some extent, their parents’ concern. What about the elderly? ON the one hand they have less access to the digital news (maybe), a lot of life experience, perhaps some wisdom and so they may be less vulnerable to fake news. Make sense? Or is it the case that the elderly are more vulnerable? If they ARE more vulnerable why might that be? Think about that for a minute and then go and read the research article linked below to see what the research literature has to tell us ab out these questions.

Source: Aging in an Era of Fake News, Nadia Brashier and Daniel Schacter, Current Directions in Psychological Science.

Date: April 3, 2022

Image by TheDigitalArtist from Pixabay

Article Link:

Did you think that there would be more than age-related cognitive declines among the elderly as causes of their deeper engagement with fake news? Cognitive issues are certainly one factors but then we need to factor in differences in digital literacy and changing social goals among other factors. The explosion of social media and the general shift away from shared mainstream sources for news and social commentary are huge challenges for al of society but the linked article makes it clear that these issues are amplified among the elderly. Some additional thought and research needs to be directed towards this matter.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What age groups most susceptible to fake news?
  2. Why might the answer to the above question matter?
  3. Outline some things that could or perhaps should be done to reduce the impacts of fake news on the elderly members of the population?

References (Read Further):

Brashier, N. M., & Schacter, D. L. (2020). Aging in an era of fake news. Current directions in psychological science, 29(3), 316-323. Link

Albright, J. (2017). Welcome to the era of fake news. Media and Communication, 5(2), 87-89. Link

Baptista, J. P., & Gradim, A. (2020). Understanding fake news consumption: A review. Social Sciences, 9(10), 185. Link

Zanatta, E. T., Wanderley, G. P. D. M., Branco, I. K., Pereira, D., Kato, L. H., & Maluf, E. M. C. P. (2021). Fake news: the impact of the internet on population health. Revista da Associação Médica Brasileira, 67, 926-930. Link

Trninić, D., Kuprešanin Vukelić, A., & Bokan, J. (2021). Perception of “Fake News” and Potentially Manipulative Content in Digital Media—A Generational Approach. Societies, 12(1), 3. Link