Secondary education students and media literacy in the age of disinformation




Media and information literacy, secondary education, adolescence, disinformation, critical consumption, media


This paper presents an up-to-date overview of how students in Compulsory Secondary Education (ESO) in Spanish public schools, aged between 11 and 16, approach the media, how they inform themselves, the degree of journalistic discrimination they have, and how they deal with the news in times of an infodemic and disinformation. In addition, it explores the opinion of teachers on the media deficits they perceive in their students. The main research technique used in this study was a descriptive, cross-sectional survey of 1,651 ESO students from all over Spain with a confidence level of <95% and a ±3% sampling error. In order to delve deeper into some of the main aspects pointed out by students, 77 in-depth interviews were conducted with teachers from all over Spain. The main results highlight that high school students are mainly informed through social networks, television, and their family or friendship groups; that they have difficulties in discriminating between information and opinion; and that, although they consider themselves capable of differentiating between news and hoaxes, more than half are unable to distinguish between fake and real news. According to the teachers in some of these schools, media consumption among students is non-critical, fuelled by the compulsive consumption of audiovisual and digital media.