California will now require K-12 students to learn media literacy skills, such as recognizing fake news and thinking critically about what they see online.
Beginning next year, a new law will integrate media literacy skills into mathematics, science, and history-social science curriculum frameworks, according to AB-873’s text.
The bill was introduced by Assemblymember Marc Berman, a Democrat representing San Mateo County in Northern California. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed it into law in October.
“Teaching media literacy is a key strategy to support our children, their families, and our society that are inundated with misinformation and disinformation on social media networks and digital platforms,” Berman said in a statement.
“As we’ve seen too often in the last decade, what happens online can have the most terrifying of real-world impacts. From climate denial to vaccine conspiracy theories to the January 6 attack on our nation’s Capital, the spread of online misinformation has had global and deadly consequences.”
The law comes amid growing distrust in the media, particularly among young adults.
A 2022 Pew Research study found that U.S. adults under 30 typically trust news they see on social media instead of stories from national news outlets.
According to a Gallup poll conducted last year, only 7% of adults have “a great deal” of trust in the media.
AB 873 passed nearly unanimously in the California Legislature. Texas, New Jersey and Delaware have also passed media literacy laws.