“I want it right now, I don’t care about quality.”
Social networks and the immediacy of information in the palm of our hands have led us to a situation in which the important thing is to know something, however small, as soon as possible.
But most of us, when we receive the information, we are not going to check neither sources nor dates. This is, without a doubt, fertile ground for manipulative political discourse, whatever color it comes from. How can it be that having all the resources we don’t contrast the data?
Let’s call this the evil of the microwave generation.
The microwave generationAs such, it is a subterfuge that I use to talk about the attitude of society towards information and its use on a day-to-day basis. A member of the microwave generation It can be defined as a person with access to the Internet who believes, without question, any result that Google or artificial intelligence throws at him, being the first on the list enough to satisfy his desire for an answer, especially if it is attractive and has some controversy.
To be part of the microwave generation It is not necessary to have been born in a specific decade, just that the use of critical thinking does not fit with your way of channeling information from the environment. That is when teachers see the great need for education in values and applied critical thinking in order to prevent this generation from continuing to swell their lists.
I have read it on the internet
The school is responsible for helping the minds of the future to take their first steps in the world of knowledge away from dogmatism and questioning what is offered to them in a constructive way.
It is not about calling the evidence fallacies because it is contrary to the particular thought of a person. It is about each individual wanting to base his ideas on facts and flee from “it is so because I say so” or “it is so because the internet says so”.
It is possible to understand from childhood that not everything is black or white, and that not knowing the variety of colors, with their lights and shadows, does not mean that they do not exist.
it’s never too soon
The fear that students are too young to face post-truth is not supported by reality: studies carried out by Heyman, a specialist in child social cognition at the University of California, proved that the development of critical thinking skills in childhood they are not just a matter of maturation and can be worked on from the earliest years.
Especially within a society of information overload that can affect this natural development of critical thinking and lead us to become part of the microwave generation. We must remember that since preschool children know what deception is and that reality does not always coincide with appearances.
Critical literacy is essential in order not to increase the membership of the microwave generation. Giving students tools to work with information is as important as teaching them to look for it.
Learning that every author is subjective, as a subject, and that no text is neutral is compatible with the ability to analyze which may be the best sources for each type of data or information.
Seekers vs. Curiosity
During childhood we go through a phase in which we question everything that surrounds them. It is worth considering if we stop asking because we have too much information or because we no longer have that natural curiosity. Asking questions to better understand is part of vital learning, survival. An internet search engine can be an ally of this curiosity… or it can cause its death.
The healthy way of discussing content without falling into fanaticism or deception is something that is built both at home and at school. But for this it is necessary that the adults involved are aware of this problem. If the family does not pay attention to a child’s first questions, that child will see his doubts satisfied when he begins to use a mobile. A childhood with secure attachment, one in which you grow up with love and understanding, knowing that you can trust your parents with your concerns and needs, prevents you from joining the ranks of the microwave generation.
A big and threatening world
On the other hand, the teaching role in our rushed society is fundamental. Let’s not forget that we give our offspring to instruct them, but also to collaborate with us in the mission of interpreting the world in which they have lived. A world that can seem bigger and scarier.
Working in class on current issues, from the most banal to the most serious, is a way of promoting not only the interest of students in the world around them, but also to explore it critically and thus avoid deception on the internet. major importance.
Education is a job for all members of society. In a landscape of information overload, promoting critical discussion and reasoning is essential to avoid deception.
Let us remember the wise words* of Miguel de Cervantes in the 17th century:
“In an era in which virtual intricacies flood our eyes, oh curious reader, I solemnly warn you that you should not give credit to everything you wander in the bowels of the vast internet, even if it appears linked to the name of an illustrious character”.
*This is an invented quote like many of those that circulate and are shared on the internet.