What's real news, what's an ad? Students can't tell, study shows

 What’s real news, what’s an ad? Students can’t tell, study shows

While young people may seem digitally savvy, their ability to evaluate online information can be summed up in one word, Stanford researchers say: “bleak.”

estudantesStudents — from middle school on up to the college level — have a hard time distinguishing between news stories and so-called sponsored content.

Photo by Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images

If you need lessons on how to dominate Snapchat, you might turn to the young people in your life. But don’t look to them to tell you what’s real and what’s not online, a Stanford study released this week shows.

Students have trouble telling the difference between news stories and native ads (aka sponsored content), for example, and figuring out where the information came from in the first place, researchers found. More than 80 percent of students thought an ad labeled “sponsored content” was a news story. Read more.