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Parenting your parents not to believe fake news

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ELSIE EYAKUZE

By ELSIE EYAKUZE
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So, here you are. It is our year of the Common Era 2020, and you have both younger dependents and older dependents in your life.

The younger ones know more about information technology and social media than you ever will and they probably differ quite palpably from you in their world views.

The older ones are set in their ways and getting frailer with every passing day, but they are a vigorous and unavoidable presence in the main technological event that you grew up with: the Internet.

And now, you have to protect both ends of the spectrum from the dangers that come with the Internet and its spawn, social media.

The good news: there is something called parental controls. You can use them with your children’s devices to try and protect them from the very worst of social media effects, including addiction. So let’s relax on that front.

It is not easy to have The Talk with your parents or elders under your care. They are, after all, adults and quite used to having things their way.

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You have to find a way to explain to them why you need to have a chat about fake news and forwarding unverified information. Now. I know, it is a difficult time.

You’ve already been chasing your mother around for a month trying to get her to stop going to church, or at the very least wear a face mask.

As it is, both her and your father are mad since you won’t let the grandkids visit because of the Corona disease.

Here is a very simple guide to help take care of the ceaseless flow of junk texts and forwards from your elders to lighten the load at least a little bit. Follow this script:

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– Dad/Mama: Where did this forward come from? Who sent it to you? Can you tell who wrote it, when was it written or released, does it look like official news or an official statement?

– If the person who sent it to you is Auntie Flappy Lips, we have to be careful. You know she will tell you someone on YouTube has shown her that pigs can fly.

She is credulous and frankly a terrible source of endless silliness. So we should immediately search this news online and see if a real newsroom like Al Jazeera or BBC or Reuters or AP has released it. No, Mama, Daddy: this is not the time to tune into our government station. Just, trust me on this.

– Is this information of any use to you whatsoever? Or is it just feeding the adrenaline rush of panic? There are no known easy cures for anything, Dear One. Protect your mind and your soul from falsehoods.

– Finally: Here, let me help you. Just, hand over your phone. (Turn on their parental controls and limit their Internet access. Block Auntie Flappy Lips and Uncle Conspiracy Theory)…okay, here you go. Things should be a bit better now. I’ll check on you tomorrow. Love you! Bye.

From here on life will be a little bit easier for you, I hope. Stay smart, stay safe.

Elsie Eyakuze is a consultant and blogger for The Mikocheni Report: E-mail: [email protected]



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