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    Students of Communications Science Program, FISIP USU Promote Importance of Digital Media Literacy in Schools

    It is widely known that the advent of social media offers numerous benefits to human life. The quick, easy, and cheap access offered by social media in spreading various types of information is the key reason why this technology is favoured by many, including students. However, this ease of access also poses new challenges for social media users, such as difficulties in distinguishing between facts and fictions and the dangers of photo manipulation, which make individuals susceptible to fake news (hoaxes).

    Acknowledging the importance of digital media literacy and the skills needed to minimize the spread of fake news, students from the Communications Science program at the Faculty of Social and Politics, Universitas Sumatera Utara (USU), held an educational socialization event on May 15 and 18, 2024, addressing two interesting topics: “Differentiating Facts and Opinions and Identifying Photo Manipulation on Social Media” and “Fighting Fake News on Social Media”.

    The event, which was held at SMA Negeri 15 Medan and SMP Negeri 10 Medan, was attended by 66 students and supervised by Yovita Sabarina Sitepu as the co-lecturer of the Digital Media Literacy course in the Communications Science program at USU.

    This socialization event is equipped with pre-test and post-test designed to measure students’ understanding of the topics before and after the material was presented. These tests revealed that this event significantly enhanced the students’ knowledge and comprehension of the discussed topics. To further develop students’ skills, various online tools that can be used to identify fake news were also introduced. Additionally, the students were tested on their ability to distinguish between authentic and manipulated photos through interactive games. The students actively participated and showed their enthusiasm throughout the whole event.

    Through this socialization event, it is hoped that students will become more critical in receiving information—either online or offline—, more active in fighting the spread of fake news, and capable of addressing photo or video manipulation. This socialization also aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to become a wiser and more responsible social media user.