The elderly duped more often by Fake News

Eldery woman selfie child fake newsNew findings show that many over 60 years of age have lower digital skills that are important for critical media understanding. The Media Supervisory believes that a major effort must be made for the elderly. Photo: Getty Images

The elderly duped more often by Fake News

Half of those over 60 years of age struggle to recognise whether a news case is Fake News, a survey from the Norwegian Media Supervisory shows.

“We need a strong effort to increase the critical media understanding among those over 60,” Director of the Media Supervisory, Mari Velsand, states.

The supervisory has,  for the first time, mapped how the situation is regarding the critical media understanding of Norwegians. One of the main findings is that Norwegians in the age group 60+ have major problems in dealing with the current digital media reality.

“It is a challenge for democracy,” Velsand believes adding:

“Critical media understanding is the knowledge and skills the population needs to orient themselves and make informed choices about the media content they consume, create and share.”

Doesn’t check for Fake News

There are five findings regarding the older age group which causes the Media Supervisory to be concerned:

  • Many above 60 years of age have lower digital skills which are important to critical media understanding.
  • Older people have the lowest understanding of which digital activities (such as likes and googles) affect the content they are exposed to on their own Facebook page.
  • Only three out of ten over the age of 60 manage to recognise all sources in a google search (seven out of ten in the 30-44 age group can).
  • Half of those over 60 did not recognise, or were unsure, whether an article is Fake News.
  • The elderly have fewer methods to verify if a case is Fake News or not (only three out of ten conduct searches digitally).

“One consequence may be that this group inadvertently contributes to spreading Fake News. They run the risk of becoming more uncertain about the digital and withdraw from fear of making a mistake. Both are problems we must take seriously,” Velsand emphasizes.

Four groups

More than 1,300 persons aged 16 -100 years old have answered questions and solved tasks in connection with the survey (pdf). They are tested on their ability to distinguish commercial content from editorial content, understanding of media structures and funding models, the ability to perform source criticism and general confidence in the media.

The Norwegian Media Authority divides the population roughly into four main groups based on the survey. Most (43 per cent) are in the group «High Critical Media Understanding», while the fewest (9 per cent) is placed in the lowest category «low critical media understanding». Income and education are the main contributors to the divide.

Most of the elderly are in the second but lowest group «medium, analogue-oriented media understanding». The hallmark is that they have a lot of knowledge about traditional media and media regulation, and little knowledge about digital media.

The second highest category «medium, digitally oriented media understanding» is dominated by younger women. It is characterised by high digital competence, but little knowledge about traditional media and media regulation.



Work to do with the young as well

Velsand believes that this shows that the Norwegian Media Supervisory has a monumental job to do towards the young as well.

“The youngest is more concerned with specific topics and spend less time on Norwegian editorial-controlled media. It can make this group more vulnerable, even though young people often possess good digital skills,” she explains.

The survey has been prepared by the Media Supervisory in collaboration with Kantar Media and media researchers at the University of Bergen. The supervisory has also used an external reference group consisting of representatives from academia, the media industry, technology environments and consumer experts.

The categories

High critical media understanding

  • 43 per cent
  • Mostly with higher education, high income, younger and men.
  • Score relatively high on most forms of critical media understanding. Reads many newspapers and is very interested in the news.

Medium, digitally oriented media understanding

  • 28 per cent
  • Mostly younger and women
  • Much knowledge of algorithms, ownership of web-based media and privacy, little knowledge of ownership of traditional media and media regulation

Medium, analogue-oriented media understanding

  • 20 per cent
  • Mostly elderly
  • Much knowledge about traditional media and media regulation, little knowledge about digital media. Paper newspapers and TV are the main sources of news

Low critical media understanding

  • 9 per cent
  • Most often have low income and no higher education
  • Score lower on most indicators.
  • Reads very few newspapers and is less interested in the news.

© #Norway Today
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1 Comment on "The elderly duped more often by Fake News"

  1. Joakim Haugen | 28. May 2019 at 13:45 |

    Well seeing as MSM is behind 99% of all fake news then it is no wonder that they can’t tell what is what.
    The scary thing is not that the old generation can’t see what is fake news, but that governments in the west is arguing for the censorship of the internet since they and MSM are sick of people checking the sources on their own and calling their BS. The EU is currently trying to stop the waybackmachine site because they save snaps of other sites meaning media and politicians especially can’t go back and retro actively change what they said/lied about

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