Are you in a Bubble?
Part of being a good digital citizen requires a little bit of legwork for all of us. Many of us who are active on social media tend to get information about current events on our feeds. The debate continues on whether that is a good thing or a bad thing, but the fact remains that this is where information is distributed. And due to algorithms playing on our human tendency to seek sources that we agree with (confirmation bias), we need to work on making sure that we aren’t in an information bubble.
Because we are working to be responsible digital citizens, the question looms: how can we work to avoid confirmation bias? Here are a few suggestions that will help you make sure that your intake of misinformation is less and your more complete understanding of things is increasing.
4 ways to not be in a Bubble
1. Don’t be afraid. Your brain does not want to believe that it doesn’t know everything already, but there is always something to learn. New ideas aren’t out there to necessarily harm you, but rather approached in an open way. This doesn’t mean you have to hop onboard the new idea’s train, but understanding where the idea came from and why will expand your critical thinking skills.
2. It’s ok to disagree with other people. Sometimes we confuse tension, which is healthy, with contention. This leads to defensiveness and that gets us nowhere fast. When you encounter a conversation, in person or online, where you really don’t agree with the arguments made, you have permission to read through and disagree. Changing peoples minds on the internet is rare, so be aware of that if you choose to engage.
3. Find effective questions to ask. Often we ask what people think or believe about something. If you really want to know the answer, modify the question a little to ask why they believe something and what brought them to that conclusion. Then open yourself up to receiving the information they give you and assessing it for yourself. Again, you don’t have to agree with it, it’s wonderful to have a differing opinion. You’ll find that the conversations you have after these questions are more enlightening and may create a deeper relationship with that person.
4. Follow people and pages you disagree with. Don’t follow people who are divisive and rude, just the ones you see that respectfully challenge a belief that you have. This doesn’t need to lead you to changing your opinions, but you will have a deeper understanding of new topics and a more complete ‘why’ behind your conclusions.
These four actions to combat confirmation bias require a little more intention behind your social media intake. This is difficult because social media consumption used to be a nice break in your day where now it feels like topic whiplash with each scroll. But because it has changed, we can change our approach as well, it just takes adjusting our own internal algorithm.
How will you demonstrate these strategies with the children in your care? Let us know in the comments below!