As part of my UX design training at Le Laptop, I was asked to study and launch a research project on the theme of teenagers and fake news. A rendering was expected within the time limit of each session of the UX methodology.
To succeed in this challenge, I adapted my working time by organizing myself rigorously in order to guarantee quality renderings respecting the dead-lines and the methods to be used.
Do you remember the last fake news you saw on social social networks?
- Teenagers between 14 and 17 years old are the first target of fake news.
- Most of them have their own smartphone and for some of them, it represents their only source of information.
- Fake news are more and more frequent and varied.
- The sharing of information is so fast via networks that it is difficult for them to sort out « Fake news » and reliable information.
55% of the population is concerned about their ability to discern truth from falsehood on the the internet.
Young people say they pay attention and read content before sharing or liking it, yet they tend to share impulsively if the topic interests them.
Parents want to control their teen’s access and history via dedicated applications but are not reassured.
Although prevention campaigns are taking place in their schools and the subject of infomercials is of interest, there are few tools or turnkey solutions for youth.
The target panel is twofold
Teenager from 14 to 17 years old
- In school
- Has a smartphone and is not isolated (has a group of friends)
- Does not need to be pre-trained in media literacy.
- Must have an account on multiple apps, have access to and use their smartphone for both recreational and informational purposes.
Married or divorced parent
- Owns connected devices (respective smartphone, tablet and computer).
- Uses digital technologies and has some degree of awareness of the dangers of the internet without going overboard.
- Uses screen management via apps or home management rules.
- Standard of living: middle to upper middle class.
Assumptions and objectives
Is controlling the digital life of teenagers (through dedicated applications or rules) enough in the face of fake news?
Do teenagers really feel unexposed and invulnerable by these threats of which they are the primary targets?
- What are their feelings?
- How do they deal with this situation?
Do parents feel helpless in the face of the pitfalls of fake news and the high volume of content received from their teens?
- What are their feelings and knowledge on the subject?
- How do they deal with this situation?
- What measures are parents taking to control or accompany their teenagers in relation to fake news in order to help them flourish in their digital life?
To ensure that the respondents (youth and parents) fit the research criteria, I choose to submit a written or oral (telephone) survey. Ideally, the parent and youth should be from the same family.
Individual telephone interview
With 3 teenagers (15-17 years old)
if possible) and then with 3 parents from the same family or not
(6 in total)
Additional observation if possible
The habits of a teenager on these habits, his way of scanning the information received or consulted on social networks and internet research.
The insights are:
- A clear shift in the needs of young people from 16 onwards, who are looking for independence.
- A letting go or relaxation of parents for this age group and notions of privacy.
- Verification is not systematic and can become time-consuming, although it is an interesting exercise. Most of the young people check the contents which seem suspicious to them. A minority do not know the reliable means of verification. They ask for little outside help to discern the real from the fake.
Parents are mostly more suspicious of information and mostly check and compare with other sources and media.
How can we develop the critical thinking skills of teenagers for their digital independence in order to consolidate trust with their parents?
SoFake! is an educational and fun application that allows teenagers to be guided while browsing social networks while training them with mini-games and quizzes on fake news.
Test Protocol Objectives:
- Does the solution help teenagers to be more alert and informed about fake news?
- Are the functionalities of the solution interesting for an older target?
- Does the solution create a positive reaction among teenagers?
- Does the solution reassure parents?
- The concept of alerting of false content is considered useful and is appreciated.
- The interface is considered visually well done.
- The application is considered fun.
- 6/7 testers gave a score of 7/10 or more.
- 100% of the teenage testers say they want to install it without any recommendation from their parents.
Areas for improvement
- Problem of understanding in the articulation of the two functions between verification and game.
- Lack of a sequence in the course to allow for a rise in levels and lack of a game logic.
- Lack of information and clarity on the login page about the application’s functions.
- Lack of information and methodology in the analysis of false content and need for evidence.
- Lack of visibility of the alert message.