Consume – Searching

More and more of the information we read is read online. Social media and web pages have replaced newspapers, and even TV, for many of us and our learners. 
Learners will likely use apps, such as TikTok or YouTube, to find information rather than a traditional web browser. However, web browsers and search engine apps, such as Google, will usually have more safety and security features to make searching more accurate and more accurate or reliable search results will help learners avoid ‘fake news’ or malicious/harmful content.

This could be explored through Literacy and English LIT x-18a – Recognise the difference between fact and opinion and progressing to evaluative comments about relevance reliability and credibility with appropriate justification

The risks:

  • Learners may follow in-app or social media links which may be targeted advertising or a ‘rabbit hole’ of misinformation
  • Without appropriate search settings, learners may find inappropriate or harmful content
  • Learners are probably unaware that the first results returned in a web search are usually adverts linked to shopping sites, and feel pressured into making a purchase

Becoming cyber resilient is the first step to being safer online. Talk to your learners about the devices and accounts that they use to access online information:

  • Make them aware of any potential risks, such as unreliable webpages or targeted advertising
  • Explain the advantages of using a web browser to find information over social media apps – a search engine, such as Google, will allow users to use filter settings that reduce the risk
  • If search results are harmful or malicious do they know how to report it?

Being more cyber resilient reduces the risk of internet safety issues arising. We all want the internet to be a more welcoming space for children and young people and that is why we promote this positive message of safe, smart and kind.

With your learners:

  • Make them aware of the dangers of clicking the first results returned or searching without filters, like SafeSearch, enabled
  • Teach them how to use settings, advanced search or keyword parameters to increase the relevance of search results
  • Discuss how to understand, analyse and evaluate search results. You may already be doing this with physical texts, such as books, but it is important to make the learning contextual.

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