The internet is full of clickbait headlines. Popular news organizations like Fox News and CNN both are buying into them and furthering the fuel of fake news. Babylon Bee, a well-known former Christian satire site, is crossing the line with clickbait over and over. But regularly you see clickbait online and it is making news articles harder and harder to trust.
So how do we know what is true? The video below shows how to better spot clickbait headlines and I even give one personal example of this afterward.
So now that you have watched the video, I hope it helps you better spot clickbait. the best trick you can do is to read the original research. One thing I have found that the video does not mention is sometimes articles do not even link to the original research. It makes a claim of a research article that actually exists but does not cite its sources. Awful!
I recently reviewed a research report by Barna that talks about their surveys of Millenials across the world and how faith and cultural values are impacting them and technology. I even gave some of my own interpretation of the article that expressed how anxiety is an issue for Millenials and how they can overcome it.
Other news outlets read the report, or another person’s thoughts of the report more likely, and then started to spam a version of this title across their blog articles “Attending Church Reduces Mental Health” or . Here are some of the websites that have done this, to my dismay:
- Study: Church Attendance Associated With Better Mental Health
- International study shows church attendance is good for young people’s mental health
- Study Finds Going to Church Regularly Leads to Better Mental Health
The research does say that practicing Christians have less anxiety, more goals, and more hope than people who are self-identified as not religious. Does this mean that practicing Christians do this? That’s what the article implies, but not the conclusion the research shows. Practicing Christian is more than showing up, something the research over and over pushes. It’s about discipleship, giving, praying, and being active in your faith, which includes showing up to church. In fact, Millenials are AGAINST just showing up to church because it is inauthentic. But that doesn’t make for a good headline, does it.
If it was that easy, if we could get rid of anxiety just by showing up to church, don’t you think our doors would be broken down long ago? But we know the path is not easy, we need to confess our sins, we much continue to renew our minds and look to selflessness over and over. When we think we are better than the world just because we show up and read the Bible, we ourselves have sins and made ourselves idols. These blog article titles prove that.
What’s The Takeaway?
Check your sources. Do not assume that the blog article at the top of the Google search result is the best source. Always use the source material, not the person giving their interpretation or opinion about the resource. Don’t be lazy. Find trusted sources and make determinations for yourself. I hope this means we’ll better spot clickbait.
What are your best tips for finding out clickbait as well as your biggest pet peeves?