Teachers struggle to deprogram kids from QAnon and anti-vax beliefs after parents radicalize

15% of Americans believe QAnon conspiracies and 22% self-identify as anti-vaxxers. Those beliefs extend to children

By Ray Hartmann
Published September 6, 2021 7:00AM (EDT)
A man holds a large "Q" sign while waiting in line on to see President Donald J. Trump at a 2018 rally in Pennsylvania. (Getty Images)
A man holds a large "Q" sign while waiting in line on to see President Donald J. Trump at a 2018 rally in Pennsylvania. (Getty Images)

This article originally appeared on Raw Story

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A sizeable number of students returning to school need to be "detoxed" from QAnon-inspired lies they soaked in -- often from their parents -- while away from class because of the pandemic, CNBC reports.

"Teachers across the country face a vexing and evolving challenge as the new school year begins and students return to the classroom following a roughly 18-month hiatus from normal in-person learning," the report says. "Since the last time full classrooms congregated, a whole industry of misinformation has exploded online, spreading conspiracy theories on everything from the alleged steal of the presidential election, which Joe Biden won, to the prevalence of microchips in Covid-19 vaccines."

Citing studies showing that 15% of Americans believe QAnon conspiracies and 22% self-identify as anti-vaxxers, the CNBC piece describes the special challenges posed to educators "by the combination of misinformation on social media and a growing population of duped and radicalized parents."

Here's more from the CNBC story:

"It's bad enough that kids are exposed to dangerous untruths across their favorite social media apps like FacebookYouTubeand TikTok. An equally large problem is that, while stuck at home during the pandemic, many students had their days of virtual schooling interrupted by screaming parents, who themselves had fallen deep into the internet's darkest rabbit holes."

CNBC spotlighted the work of Alabama seventh-grade teacher Sarah Wildes, who described the challenge of reaching kids who "were at home consuming this information without really being able to bust out of their own bubble having been in quarantine. They were starved for guidance on how to navigate all the things that they were seeing."

Wildes says she's leaning on the News Literacy Project (NLP), a non-profit in Washington, D.C., that last year developed Checkology, an online tool for educators to help students spot and dispel misinformation.

Since Checkology was launched in May 2016, it has registered more than 1.3 million students and nearly 36,300 teachers, CNBC reports.


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Anti-vax Conspiracy Theories Covid Vaccines Covid-19 Donald Trump Politics Qanon Radicalization Raw Story