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Scouts will be prepared… to spot fake news! Latest badge is awarded for identifying online dangers

Never mind about orienteering or tying knots – the Scouts’ latest badge is for spotting fake news.

Its introduction comes as the organisation modernises itself for ‘life in 2020’.

Youngsters who can identify online dangers such as ‘bogus bulletins’ and celebrity-sponsored product endorsements will earn themselves the organisation’s revamped Digital Citizen Badge.

The badge has been designed to teach Scouts how to manage cyber bullying, protect their personal data and improve their CVs.

The Scouts’ latest Digital Citizen Badge (pictured) is awarded for spotting fake news

The Scouts’ latest Digital Citizen Badge (pictured) is awarded for spotting fake news 

Scouts learning how to spot fake news are shown examples of stories that have been widely shared but are not true, including a photo-shopped image of a shark swimming down a motorway in Texas after a hurricane, which was seen by at least 14million.

They will be given three top tips for spotting fake news: look at the source, ask questions and evaluate the evidence.

Celebrities and social media sites will also be under the spotlight. 

The advice to scouts tells them to question: ‘Does that source have any vested interests? Are they making money from it? Are they selling something? Why are they making this claim?’ 

Older scouts will be asked to create a digital version of the Scout Law and debate issues which polarise opinion online.

Its introduction comes as the organisation modernises itself for ‘life in 2020’

An Ofcom study last year found that more than half of 12 to 15-year olds said that they felt it is difficult to work out whether news on social media is accurate or not.

There are 638,000 scouts in the UK, more than a quarter of whom are female. 

Scout volunteers contribute more than 30 million hours of work each year to their local communities.

A spokesman for the organisation told the Telegraph: ‘Society has changed since 1907 when we started. We need to equip young people to live an active, positive life in 2020.’ 

Chief Scout, TV adventurer Bear Grylls, said: ‘I am known for being able to survive in the wild but it’s just as important that young people today have their wits about them when online.

‘Taking part in this badge will help Scouts of all ages make good online decisions. Scouting is all about helping young people develop skills for life and this badge a really good example of our approach to youth work.’ 

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