Teach students how to spot fake news

The article about Brazil requiring its school students to be educated on fake news prompts me to urge the local authorities to do likewise (Brazilian kids being schooled to fight fake news; July 14).

Fake news can trick most readers, unless they are reasonably educated and also aware of its objective.

The falsehoods are wide-ranging, their tentacles arching over socio-political, scientific and other issues.

Through WhatsApp messages that I have received from friends, I have found even educated adults here not being able to tell the difference between news disseminated by The Straits Times and the States Times Review.

If adults like us can be conned, how much more are students?

If a compulsory course for secondary school students to help them identify fake news cannot be introduced, the Ministry of Education must, at least, send speakers to schools regularly to educate the students.

The young, impressionable minds of students are fertile grounds for fake news.

Education is a net that will prevent such news from settling on such ground and render the dispersion method of these poisonous seeds ineffective.

Phillip Tan Fong Lip

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2018, with the headline 'Teach students how to spot fake news'. Subscribe