We offer workshops for parents and teachers on how to deal with misinformation and conspiracy theory narratives enabling them to actively engage in a digital civil society.
Timeframe: 2023 - 2024
Due to the Corona pandemic, the war in Ukraine, economic crises or the advancing climate change, we find ourselves in a societal poly-crisis causing insecurity not only amongst young people, but also amongst adults. This, in turn, increases vulnerability to misinformation and conspiracy theories. By conveying simplified world views, conspiracy theories offer orientation and a sense of security. Furthermore, they provide a high identification potential, their spread has greatly increased throughout the Internet and social media and debunking conspiracy theories has proven to be extraordinarily difficult. Prevention is, therefore, crucial.
Parents, teachers and multipliers impart knowledge and competencies. They are an important source of information for young people – especially in times of crises. Parents and educators can accompany children and young people towards a confident and safe approach to media if they themselves have knowledge and skills about misinformation and conspiracy theories.
Our project "Digital.Truth" develops a workshop format that enables adults to recognise patterns of conspiracy theory narratives. They gain knowledge about the networks that feed misinformation and mistrust in government systems, as well as undermine democracies. "Digital.Truth" takes a transgenerational approach, training young adults as facilitators for the workshops. In this way, an exchange about the experiences of young people on the Internet and social media can take place amongst the participating parents and teachers.
In their role as parents or multipliers (pedagogical staff), adults are confronted with the reasonable expectation to properly classify information and offer orientation. This is the case especially in times of crises. For a considerable number of adults, it is a challenge to recognise misinformation on the Internet.
As doubts about the independence of the press are spreading, it is important to strengthen adults' resilience to conspiracy theories and misinformation. If they are aware of the risks that conspiracy theories pose to societies, democracies and the private sphere, they can accompany young people in their everyday lives and guide them in a competent and safe use of the media. In this way, they can also become aware of the steps to take for a peaceful democratic coexistence.
On a scientific and pedagogical-didactical basis, "Digital.Truth" develops a workshop format on misinformation and conspiracy theories for adults - especially for parents and teachers. It will be suitable for implementation both in person and online.
The format addresses three themes by:
- Adressing motives and needs of conpsiracy theories together with the participants,
- Sharing knowledge and skills for identifying and deconstructing conspiracy theory narratives and misinformation, and
- Facilitating a space for intergenerational exchange about anti-democratic phenomena on the web.
The individual topics are modular and include innovative learning materials. Interactive methods allow a stimulating transfer of knowledge and skills in dealing with misinformation and conspiracy theories. The approach enables socio-emotional learning and strengthens the resilience and ambiguity tolerance of the participants.
Young adults are trained to conduct the workshops. The transgenerational approach offers an innovative exchange format for joint learning and a change of perspective. The workshops are tailored to the target groups and their needs.
Goals and Results
By the end of the project in 2024, 50 workshops aimed to be held throughout Germany, with at least 800 parents and 200 teachers aiming to be reached. Teachers nationwide will receive training that is easily accessible and tailored to their needs and 20 young adults will be trained as facilitators for the workshops.
The workshop materials will be available for educational staff to be downloaded free of charge.
The project is accompanied by a social media campaign.
Parents of all educational backgrounds, teachers from all disciplines and school types as well as pedagogical professionals can participate in the free workshops.
Young adults are trained as facilitators to conduct the workshops.
Partners and Funders
The project „Digital.Truth“ is funded by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth within the program “Demokratie leben!”.
In addition, the project is funded by Humanity in Action in 2023.
Senior Project Manager
Media and Communications Manager
+49 (0) 177 7052758