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& Discussion Questions


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  1. Speak for yourself and out of your own experiences while recognizing that your words have an impact. Be respectful. 

  2. Allow others to do the same.

  3. Share the time - allow others to finish speaking, take turns. Consider waiting for others to contribute before speaking a second or third time.

  4. Stay curious - ask honest questions when you need clarification.

  5. Pause - take time for reflection. Allow for silence.

  6. Practice active listening and listen for understanding - assume good intentions and notice what feelings arise in you when others are speaking.

  7. When possible, please close any unnecessary programs, applications, and notifications and put your phone on silent so you can be fully present.


1. Why Media Literacy Matters

What is media literacy and how can it help people to respond to disinformation & hoaxes?

Learn about media literacy and why it is important. Then examine a TikTok video and discuss: 

  • What type or form of media is this? How do you know?

  • What feelings does this article evoke in you?

  • What are the main ideas?

  • How might different people interpret this message differently? 


2. Preventing Violent Extremism 

How is violent extremism affecting our society and what can we do about it?

Analyze a news story about the racially-motivated mass shooting in Buffalo, NY. For discussion: 

  • Who is the author and what is the purpose? 

  • What techniques are used to attract and hold your attention?

  • What lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented? 

  • How might people interpret the message differently? 

  • What is omitted from the message?


3. High Conflict 

What is the difference between good conflict and high conflict? 


Learn about different types of conflict and then discuss: 

  • Can you think of a time in your life when conflict was actually useful? When you learned something you didn’t know—about yourself, the problem or the other person? What happened?

  • Now think about a conflict you’ve experienced that was more harmful than helpful. It can be political or personal, big or small. What happened?


4. Conflict Entrepreneurs

What do people need to know about social media economics and the profit motives that underpin conflict?

Learn about how people exploit conflict for profit. Then discuss:

  • Working together, identify 3 or more examples of conflict entrepreneurs who use media to exploit conflict for pleasure, power, and profit.

  • When and why do the messages of conflict entrepreneurs become most harmful?


5. Feelings and Facts

Why do stories, characters, and conflict change minds? 

Learn about why feelings are more important in persuading people than facts, and then discuss:

  • What are some conspiracy theories that you have encountered recently?

  • What are the different feelings that these stories evoke for you? 

  • Which of these conspiracy theories are harmless? Which ones are harmful and why?

6. The Influencers 

How do we decide who to trust? 

Learn about why people trust influencers more than thought leaders and discuss: 

  • Who do you trust? Who influences you? Why?

  • Who are the thought leaders and influencers you avoid? Why?

  • Which influencers & thought leaders have high levels of authority and/or authenticity?

  • OPTIONAL: Who do you influence? How do you do it? What makes you credible and trustworthy?


7. Free Speech, Hate Speech & Censorship

How are digital technologies influencing people's understanding of free speech, hate speech and censorship?

Learn about cancel culture, hate speech, and content moderation, and then discuss:

  • How have you experienced the benefits of the First Amendment freedoms?

  • How have you experienced the drawbacks, limitations, or even harms of the First Amendment freedoms?

  • How should harmful forms of digital expression be regulated? By people themselves? By government? By digital platforms?

8. Targets of Propaganda

Who is targeted to receive harmful propaganda and how does it affect them? 

Learn how to recognize new forms of targeted propaganda and then discuss: 

  •  Who is targeting you with propaganda?

  • What are some examples of beneficial and harmful propaganda you have encountered recently?

  • How do you recognize the difference between beneficial and harmful propaganda?

  •  How do you resist the allure of harmful propaganda that aligns with your existing beliefs?


9. Falling Down the Rabbit Hole 

What can you do to support people in your life who may be moving towards radicalization?

Learn about the pathways to radicalization to violence, and then discuss:

  • Have you or anyone you know experienced hate-based harassment?

  • Do you know anyone who might be at risk for going down the rabbit hole?

  • What do you think might draw them to these groups?

  • What can you do to help them see and think more clearly?

10. The Ripple Effect 

How can you help to counteract violent extremism using the power of media literacy, active listening, and dialogue and discussion?

Learn about the power of whole-of-society approaches to social change and discuss:

  • How can you use active listening to increase people’s feelings of belonging? 

  • How can you exercise your own media literacy skills while helping others? 

  • Who can you partner with for dialogue and discussion? 

  • What small acts of kindness can you do to help reduce fear and restore trust?

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