The ability for critical thinking helps us not to fall victim to disinformation and can be used as a tool to combat it. Disinformation can psychologically affect critical thinking by playing with our emotions. One such example may be the use of language with moral distortions, in which personal opinions are expressed with the use of strong emotions. If we know that the public will emotionally react to a certain topic, then it often happens that influential people use words such as disgust, despair.

Another way to manipulate critical thinking is to express hate speech, also playing with the listener's feelings. In certain cases, terms such as monster, murderer, soulless, terrorist, or traitors are used. In this way, the person to whom these words are directed is identified with those terms and demonized by the public.

In order to be truly informed, the modern individual must possess the most important skills for using the media:

  • Have a critical approach to reading and understanding information

  • Have technical skills for using different media

  • Have knowledge about accessing different media

Why is critical thinking important for elementary media literacy?

Every day, many centers of power (political, business, economic community) attempt to "sell their truth," and critical thinking blocks the possibility of manipulation and deception, i.e., from incorrect judgments. It is necessary to understand the logical connections between ideas, to evaluate arguments, to find errors in judgment, to systematically solve problems, to confirm the importance of ideas to justify one's own ideas and beliefs. The term "critical thinking" should not be equated with the term "negative criticism." Negative criticism is a procedure often used in the media space, implying opposition, with the sole purpose of proving that something is wrong or false, without providing reasons, precise arguments to show that the criticism is justified, i.e., based.

Having developed critical thinking, it is easy to determine whether certain information is accurate or not.

  • What is the source of the information?

First, we need to check the source of the information. Who provides the information and how credible the source is. In the case of fake news, we always check the author of the text; if the information is accurate and reliable, then the author's name will be included in the text.

  • Who provided the information?

At the same time, we must see if the information comes from an institution or from an official, or if it is the personal opinion of the author.

  • Fact or opinion?

The next step is to analyze whether the claim is a fact or an opinion. Why is it claimed this way, what is the motive for the given information, is there an explanation, or is there some other motive to make someone look good or tarnish someone's reputation.

Some intellectual standards for critical thinking are universally applicable in different contexts and are therefore listed in the“Handbook for Informal Education for Elementary Media Literacy”, published by the Metamorphosis Foundation.

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