A case for critical thinking

This didn't come up when we were in school! Which is why it's important for us parents to know about it: Photoshopped news photos for propaganda and many other purposes. Nikki Leon at the Harvard Berkman Center's Digital Natives site recently blogged about a photo of missiles in Iran having been altered apparently for political purposes. "The picture, a view of three test missiles launching, was altered to include four (hiding one that failed)," she writes. After mentioning that the photo was used by prominent news outlets (e.g., the BBC, L.A. Times, etc.), she asked the good question of what this means for young Net users. She concludes that "incidents like this week’s explosive photoshoppery are a reminder that students need to be taught how to evaluate online material just as they are encouraged to assess historical print sources [because] … it is likely that propaganda of this variety will be produced with greater skill and distributed with greater frequency. It is up to teachers, parents, and Digital Natives themselves to ensure that young people will be critical enough to demand the truth." In fact, a friend and teacher in Los Angeles recently told me, "our job is no longer to put information into kids' heads, since they already know more than we do. Our job is more to help them filter and manage it all."

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