Clive Thompson’s article, “Why Johnny Can’t Search,” in this month’s Wired magazine (19.11), exposes the sad and surprising inability of kids to identify authoritative web content when doing a simple Google search: “Kids know how to Google–they just can’t tell when the results are crap.”
Between secondary school and college it’s assumed in the 21st century that kids somehow just know how to distinguish good web content and quality web sites from junk. But according to studies, they are as apt as the rest of us to click on the first few search results in a Google search even if the content crap meter is in the red.
According to Thompson, it’s primarily school librarians–thank God–who are taking up the staff to teach students the proper way to vett sources they find on the web. They are–
…train[ing] students to assess the credibility of what they find online. For example…to analyze the tone of a web page to judge whether it was created by an academic, an advocacy group, or a hobbyist.
Now, who’s going to help the rest of us?