“You Decide” , a Norwegian resource center for teaching children and teenagers the importance of critical thinking
You Decide is a collection of resources ranging from booklets, films, educational videos, games, creative exercises and presentations of a key issues such as privacy and social media. These resources are available in over 20 languages and are classified into two groups: children from 9 to 13 years old, and teenagers from 13 to 18 years old.
The website makes the point that even adults and parents can learn a lot from You Decide's resources. The police, youth clubs and health professionals in Norway is it in their work with children and young people.
"If you are doing nothing wrong, then you have nothing to hide".
This phrase is often heard at debates about online privacy and personal data protection. To counter this argument, You Decide aims to educate children and young people on the value of their privacy.
"Privacy means that you should have the right to decide about information about you. The decision about what information to share and with whom to share it should be yours to an increasing extent as you grow up. […] The older you are, the more your opinion should count."
The issues are thoroughly discussed in a language and words tailored to the age group. For instance, children from 9 to 13 years old are introduced to the concept of privacy by learning about by thinking about how the information stored on their mobile devices could end up in the wrong hands. Information about themselves, their friends or their parents could be compromised and used against them.
These sections are a great way for teachers and parents to discuss important issues with children and teenagers.
With children and young people spending more and more time online, using a wide variety of apps and websites, they are vulnerable to the proliferation of fake information. On a page titled "source criticism", You Decide even writes:
"When you watch a television programme or read something in the paper, you probably assume that what you see or read is true. If you are reading things online, you might also assume that you can trust the information that has been published there. But that is not always the case."
Teaching children and teenagers to ask themselves if the information they find online is true is a crucial part in the development of critical thinking skills, which will pay off their whole lives. They must constantly challenge the information they see, whether it is from a friend's Facebook post, a tweet, or any website they find. Learning to go out and compare sources is precisely what You Decide aims to teach children and teens.
You Decide is a great tool for anyone wanting to involve children and teenagers on crucial issues facing them in the digital world. They will understand that their social media presence doesn't go away that easily, that their privacy is something to be cherished, and that anybody can write anything online.
You Decide is available in Norwegian and English at http://www.dubestemmer.no/en
Booklets, films, and educational materials are translated in over 20 languages.