'Employee project' 2020 winner of the Thales Solidarity Charitable Fund, the Desinfox programme aims to develop critical thinking in young people, to enable them to decode the information they receive, to overcome stereotypes and prevent their propagation. With a few colleagues who are experts in cybersecurity, Antonin C. sponsor of this project, contributed effectively.
Misinformation is easy to produce and very accessible, and verifying information takes effort and time. The Désinfox project was launched in 2020 to provide an accessible and engaging media and technology educational programme. Led by the organisation Savoir Apprendre, this programme includes various entertaining and educational activities for groups of young people aged 10 to 15, from 4 social centres in priority districts of the Val-de-Marne.
Implication of the management teams for a better impact
Initially, co-training workshops were organised for the leaders and managers of the social centres, and also for interested parents. This allowed them to get familiar with the subject of media education so that they could continue activities on the thematic with the young people after the workshops. The participants were also able to contribute to the definition of the content of the sessions and to share their local issues. They were able to propose different activities adapted to each group: some young people were introduced to digital tools while others made surveys or took part in debates on the media.
The workshops were varied, interactive and participatory.
As of today, 16 two-hour workshops were held in the 4 social centres.
During the first session, in October, the young people were able to discover, through various games, debates, videos and manipulation of digital tools, the journey of a piece of information as well as tools allowing them to understand what is true and what is fake on the internet. They were also able to exchange and share their opinions on the way they get information, their use of social networks and their vision of the profession of journalist.
During the second session in February, they met professionals from Thales cybersecurity and journalists from the FakeOff organisation, and produced a publication of their choice (video, photo montage, comic strip, etc.) to summarise the stages of fact-checking.
The young people greatly appreciated the sessions and demonstrated good assiduity: almost three quarters of those registered attended all the sessions, although they were held at widely spread dates due to the health crisis. Feedback from the social centre supervisors was also very positive, highlighting the variety of activities and the choice of topics, which were very close to the daily concerns of the teenagers. Some of the participating organisations are going to continue the project, in particular in order to develop long-term thinking on critical thinking and personal data.
An enriching experience for the Thales volunteers.
Antonin C. succeeded in getting four of his Thales colleagues on board to lead the sessions on cybersecurity. An enriching experience which, beyond the contact with young people, also enables them to better explain and talk about their activities.
"We were led to develop a board game called CyberDo to make the popularisation of cybersecurity more entertaining. The prototypes were used in two of the four sessions, with useful feedback," says Antonin.
"Various activities were also developed, and the participating Thalesians are planning to use them in their personal and professional environment to raise awareness of critical thinking and cyber issues. There is no age to learn!"
Savoir Apprendre, the non-profit behind the project, promotes access to scientific, technical and digital culture, particularly through the Exploradôme, an interactive space for discovering science in the service of equal opportunities.