When I was in school, I devoured school libraries. I read them all and there was some weird shit in some of them. In junior high school I remember several books in particular.
They were a series of conspiracy theories books - but written by someone who seems to have believed them and written like they were all totally true.
It seemed believable. And up till then, books were clearly fiction or not fiction. These seemed like non-fiction. One of the theories that seemed plausible was essentially pyramid power. You could build a little pyramid thing and sharpen a razor blade with moonlight.
Now, why would you want to do this? I have no idea. I was years away from shaving so it’s not like razors were a huge budgetary issue for me - inasmuch as 13 year olds have budgets.
But there was a period where stuff like that seemed believable. And then it didn’t.
Why I went from entertaining conspiracy theories to not, I really can’t figure out. I do know I did it and I did it on my own. I didn’t tell any adults nor did any adults sit me down and knock sense into me. In fact it’s not a thing I’ve ever talked about with anyone at all till pushing this to my blog. It was entirely an internal evolution.
Anyway, I’ve been thinking back to then because I have a number of friends now worried about their kids and what they consume online. I think a lot of kids will be ok, they’ll figure it out. Unfortunately, I don’t know why they will. Wish I did. My parents never explicity gave me critical thinking lessons or media consumption training. They did encourage me to question things. There was very little “do this because I told you.” They laid a foundation with words and actions in terms of being inquisitve, admiting when you’re wrong and standing up for yourself.
How that translates in the modern era to “don’t fall for Nazis on youtube” I’m really not sure. But I do think at the end of the day, they’re going to have to figure it out on their own and we just have to hope they get it right.