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A campaign helps the elderly uncover hoaxes

The educational campaign Old Age Touches Everyone runs until December.

The educational campaign Staroba sa nás dotýka (Old Age Touches Everyone) warns seniors citizens in Slovakia against online threats and disinformationThe educational campaign Staroba sa nás dotýka (Old Age Touches Everyone) warns seniors citizens in Slovakia against online threats and disinformation (Source: SOCIA)

A glossary of words is also published online.

The educational campaign Staroba sa nás dotýka (Old Age Touches Everyone) launched by the SOCIA foundation, cautions seniors citizens in Slovakia against online threats and teaches them how to detect hoaxes.

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“We think older people are able to check information, but we must speak with them about this topic and show our support,” said Vladislav Matej of SOCIA, as quoted in a press release.

The campaign was launched in mid-November. A series of workshops on media literacy and disinformation for senior citizens will follow in March 2020.

The vulnerable

“We must pass on practical skills that enable them to uncover manipulation and disinformation online,” said Peter Jančárik of the Seesame PR agency, which will run the workshops.

The older generation of Slovaks were born during World War II and grew up under the communist regime. However, society has been experiencing a massive influx of information since the Velvet Revolution in 1989, especially with the arrival of the internet and social media.

Hoaxes and fake news have become a real tool of the powerful, which helps keep groups of people, including senior citizens, under their control. The online space is a new and useful thing for the older generation, but numerous threats await them online, SOCIA added.

Media literacy fails

Although the elderly population is considered to be more vulnerable to disinformation, the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAV) found in its 2014 ISSP Slovakia research that people over 65 were slightly less likely to believe conspiracy theories than their younger counterparts.

“The media literacy of older people does not get as much attention as it should,” Jančárik added.

The campaign underlines that it is normal to come across hoaxes online, but it is important to analyse received information, Simona Bubánová of Creative Department said.

The Spectator College is a programme designed to support the study and teaching of English in Slovakia, as well as to inspire interest in important public issues among young people.

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