Hi, I am glad that you wrote to me about the Internet because the things that I can do with it also fascinate me. Yes, knowledge in basic Internet skills has made my life easier than those times when I don’t have other sources of information other than the books in the library…
All you need to do is get an access of an Internet connected computer and get the information you want by exploring the sites in the web. However, as there are many sites in the web that provide information, one may become doubtful about the value of those sources, particularly when it comes to the credibility and reliability of the information. On such cases, Internet users should exercise their critical evaluation skills when reviewing the information found in online articles. This is because failure in evaluating information critically may mislead readers, which may result to misinformed judgements. Miriam J. Metzger (2007), in her article Making Sense of Credibility on the Web, evaluates different journals about online information evaluation and concludes that there are three factors that affect the credibility of online information; namely, the content of the information, the author, and the site on which the information appear (p. 2078). With these factors, Metzger also asserts that the Checklist Approach to online information evaluation is the most useful tool in evaluating the reliability and credibility of information in the Internet. The criteria in the checklist include the 1) objectivity of the argument, 2) author’s professional record, 3) date of the sources, 4) academic writing conventions (grammar and referencing styles), and 5) “stamp of approval” from official evaluation committee/s (Metzger, 2007, p. 2080). In evaluating the objectivity of the information, one should read the article and consider whether the author presents the two opposing sides of the argument without personal biases. Readers should also consider the author’s professional record to see if the author has a comprehensive theoretical background and/or field experience of the topic in question. Further, it is also necessary to check the writing style and presentation of the article because these show how the author values the academic and professional content of his/her article, which also affect its academic and professional reception of the article. As readers, we also look forward to getting fresh information as it informs us on current social conditions; thus, we should be vigilant about the date of the article to ensure that we can get fresh information on the topic. Lastly, the presence of “stamps of approval” adds value to the article as it suggests that professionals and members of official evaluation committees also read the article. With regard to your inquiry about the “digital divide,” the term refers to the gap between “information haves” and “information have-nots” (Campbell, Martin, & Fabos, 2012, p. 63). “Information haves” are those people who can buy computers and Internet services while “information have-nots” are those whose financial capabilities are not enough to buy those services. The gap between the two groups increases because of the fact that there are still other factors that affect people’s inability to get Internet access. For instance, Campbell et al. (2012) further explain that age, educational attainment, and family background may also inhibit people to get Internet access. Specifically, learning to use the Internet and understanding basic Internet skills may become challenging tasks for older people; the same is true for people with lower educational attai ...
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