Young people’s media behaviour has come under pressure.
They are increasingly exposed to viral disinformation which is easily accessible online. At the same time we have noticed that young people grow frustrated with traditional media. They feel underrepresented and feel little connection with the perspectives of traditional media outlets. This harms trust in the press, and leaves young people vulnerable to disinformation and polarisation. As well as creating distrust, this process can undermine young people’s support for democratic values such as press freedom and freedom of speech. We believe we need to step into the world of young people to change this. Under Pressure uses young role models and the evidence-based Under Pressure disinformation game to counter these developments. This is how we stimulate constructive and critical thinking, media literacy skills and strengthen democratic values among young people.
In order to tackle the aforementioned problems in European classrooms, the PEGAP consortium has developed an interactive methodology to help young people navigate the media landscape and counter disinformation: Under Pressure. To engage with young people’s media behaviour, we need to address them as equals. This is why we invite peer educators – young role models – to visit schools and start a conversation with students about the way they use media. They discuss online and offline filter bubbles, and important democratic values like freedom of press and freedom of speech.
We combine this unique approach with the Under Pressure disinformation game. Based on DROG’s tried and tested serious game Bad News, developed in cooperation with Cambridge University, the game works as a psychological vaccine against disinformation by exposing its players to misleading techniques. To optimize its use in the classroom, it has been specially redesigned to accommodate a multiplayer function in which players compete against each other. Taking the game as a starting point, the peer educators work together with the students to uncover the ins and outs of disinformation. The result is an innovative, challenging and captivating programme.