Examine how people’s viewpoints impact the real and digital worlds. Search for examples and find ways to make your digital landscape an inclusive and bias-free place.
Ambassador Digital Leadership Badge Activity
Examine Digital Bias.
Time needed: 30–40 minutes
- Smartphone, tablet, or laptop
- Magazines and newspapers
Everyone has their own point of view, shaped by their experiences, environment, and personality. Your point of view, in turn, shapes how you interpret experiences and information. Our point of view comes across both online and offline. Bias is a belief or opinion that affects how we perceive and treat others—it can be an aversion or a preference. Sometimes we know our opinion or belief is biased; that’s known as conscious bias. Sometimes the bias is unconscious, which can lead us to instantly connect stereotypes or attitudes with certain groups of people based on their identity. Online, for example, this could be something like a body positivity account that only features people of one body type.
All digital content is created by people with their own viewpoints and biases. It can exist in the message that’s being shared and also within the platform sharing it. Think about ads or products for women that only come in pink—that’s a stereotype. A stereotype is a characteristic or trait—whether positive or negative—that is associated with an identity group. It is often an oversimplification or exaggeration. Much of the digital world is created with algorithms, or sets of instructions. Algorithms recommend videos, search for information, and analyze data. Some algorithms tell the computer what to do with data—what to look for, what to flag, or what to recommend. If the person writing the code has a bias, conscious or unconscious, they might write a biased algorithm. Or if the data computed by the algorithm is biased, then the result will be biased, too.
Monitoring what you see and share online is an important part of
Misinformation is information that is incorrect or false but presented as true. It’s often intentionally created and spread digitally. Make sure the messages you share are positive, helpful, honest, and inclusive. By thoughtfully managing your digital landscape, you can make it safe, kind, and fair.
Have you ever seen an ad or a post from someone you know that made you feel bad about yourself by comparison? How does what you see online have an impact on you personally and on your community?
First, consider how edited, filtered, or touched-up photos can create unrealistic standards. Look at the photos in magazines, newspapers, and digital media like zines, videos, and websites. Do they look edited, filtered, touched up, or changed in any way? Do they look too good to be true?
Comparing yourself to what you see in magazines or online isn’t fair or helpful because much of what you are seeing isn’t real. To create a more intentional online experience, look carefully at your social media feeds, apps, and any other forms of digital media. Identify examples of bias, stereotyping, and misinformation in the form of manipulated images, posts, articles, or other content. Analyze what messages they send. What do they want you to believe? How do they want you to feel? What do they want you to do?
Then brainstorm ways you can protect yourself and help others. How can you stay away from negative messages or comparisons? Can you mute or stop following accounts in your feed? Can you point out misinformation or bias? What can you post or share to uplift other people? How can you help yourself and others have a better online experience? Create a plan and put it into action. That’s how you become a digital leader that makes a safe and inclusive digital world for all.
Check out these ideas to be a leader online and offline:
Control your privacy settings. On many platforms, you can reach different audiences, like close friends, a community or group, the public, or just one person. You can make your account private so only people you’re connected with see what you share.
Be in charge of what you see and share. Manage the conversation on content you share and remember that you can mute, block, and unfollow. You can also report bullying or content and accounts that don’t follow the guidelines or rules.
Review your connections. Let go of negative content to make way for new people and ideas. Find others who share your interests to expand your digital landscape.
Reach out for help. If you’re feeling sad or angry, reach out to someone you trust. If you come across something concerning from a friend, like a sad meme or angry post, reach out, listen, and be supportive.
Uplift your digital communities. Celebrate other people’s success and amplify what they do! Share and reshare things that are important to your digital communities, like causes, petitions, and new businesses.
Collaborate with others. Share information, raise awareness, and work together to envision a better future. You can organize, plan, and mobilize. You can ask those in positions of leadership to use their power and influence for positive change.
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Girl Scouts at Home activities have been adapted from existing Girl Scout programming and optimized for use during virtual troop meetings or for Girl Scouts at home.