Hey Grandma! I wanted to let you know that article you shared about “Fake News” was actually Fake News.

Buzzfeed has one of the best articles I’ve seen on combating misinformation online. It discusses how to talk to loved ones, especially the older ones, about misinformation they might be inadvertently spreading online. In summary, the article directs us to just talk to the person sharing the misinformation, but in a private, positive and personal way. We should give context to the information they’re sharing and explain why it’s wrong or incomplete. We need to suggest to our favorite grandma to Google the issue and educate themselves while keeping ourselves educated as well.

While I haven’t seen anyone in my family share any misinformation online, likely because I don’t go onto their Facebook pages that often, I have had several discussions with my own grandmother about a range of topics. As a personal rule, I don’t have these kinds of discussions online. While my grandma is a bright woman, reading off a screen can be difficult for her. Also sending lengthy paragraphs explaining why the news article a family member just shared was wrong can be intimidating. I’ve never felt that a conversation like this needed to be immediate so I don’t immediately give them a phone call. I’ll mention it the next time I seem them, though.

Often, I go to my grandma’s house to help perform any household chores she needs help with. I usually stay for a little bit and talk about family, the neighborhood, my school/work, and occasionally politics or recent news.

One day while we were talking she mentioned the Antonio Arce shooting. At first she expressed empathy for the mother. She said “I can’t imagine the kind of pain that poor boy’s mother must be going through.” However, she then started to describe false or misrepresented factors that seemed to point to the Arce’s own actions being responsible for the shooting. During this time I was working at the ASU State Press and with a reporter had covered a recent vigil/protest outside the Tempe Police Department Headquarters. I had a better understanding of the situation than anyone else in my family because of my proximity. I didn’t tell her she was wrong. I did give her the information I knew, which she was receptive to, so that she could better understand the situation.

This is the best I think we can do. Kindly and privately provide missing context while encouraging education.