Teaching kids about what’s real and what’s not, can be tricky but it’s important tamariki understand that just because something is online doesn’t mean it’s true. Here’s some advice to help you teach tamariki on how to spot fake news.

What is fake news?

Fake news is information that is either totally or in part inaccurate. It can appear anywhere and be created by anyone, and has the potential to harm the community. Netsafe has more information available to help adults spot and identify fake news on our website.

Why does it matter?

  1. Kids may be confused or misled about what they see which could impact on their learning and wellbeing if they start to feel anxious about something.
  2. Some fake news is either deliberately hateful or aimed at people in minority groups which can have offline consequences.

Netsafe’s top tips for tamariki

  1. Explain to your child what fake news is, how it’s created and why they need the skills to determine what’s fact and what’s fake.
  2. Teach your child to factcheck – explain what sites are trustworthy, where you get information from and how you check the reliability of what  you see.
  3. Hone their critical thinking skills. Encourage them to ask themselves does this sound right? Is there another explanation for this information? Could this be a joke?
  4. Encourage your child to read beyond a headline before they take something at face value or share it with other people.
  5. Build digital literacy. Critical thinking skills are more relevant now. Teach children to be cautious, vigilant, and creative digital citizens

Download Netsafe’s resource

You can download Netsafe’s Teaching tamariki to spot fake news by clicking on the image below or by clicking download now.

Is there anyway to test my child’s knowledge?

Netsafe has developed a fake news trainer that you can do with your kids to start conversations about what’s real and what’s fact.

Google have developed a game to help parents and young people put their critical thinking skills to the test. The Interland River flows with fact and fiction and you need to use your best judgement to cross the rapids. Play it now! 

Online Safety Parent Toolkit

You’re currently within the ‘Understand’ section of our Online Safety Parent Toolkit where online risks and challenges are explored.

This is the first step in our seven-step framework designed to help parents and whānau with digital parenting in a rapidly changing world. We recommend reading through each step of the Toolkit as this will guide you on how to support your child to confidently access digital opportunities and reduce online harm.


If you’re concerned about the immediate safety of you or someone else, please call 111. If you want help or expert incident advice, you can contact us. Our service is free, non-judgemental and available seven days a week.


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