How to find accurate information online (with Collin… | WORLD
Sound journalism, grounded in facts and Biblical truth | Donate

How to find accurate information online (with Collin Garbarino and Juliana Chan Erikson)


WORLD Radio - How to find accurate information online (with Collin Garbarino and Juliana Chan Erikson)

The internet is full of conflicting information. How can you know what to trust? WORLD Magazine’s Collin Garbarino and Juliana Chan Erikson join the show to help us wrestle with this pressing listener question.

KELSEY REED: Hello, welcome to Concurrently: The News Coach Podcast from WORLD Radio and God’s WORLD News. Our mission is to come alongside you, learning and laboring with you as you disciple kids and teens through culture and current events. I’m Kelsey Reed. I’m here with Jonathan Boes.


KELSEY: And together we want to model conversation and apply tools you can use at home or in the classroom. We would love for you to send in your questions for us to address in future episodes. Please send your questions to

JONATHAN: So today we have a listener question from Katrina Bartel. She wrote to us:

How do I teach my kids (and even myself) to find accurate information on the internet? It seems like you can Google a question and find 1,000 different answers, including the answer you might need or want to find in order to support your side of a debate, even if it’s inaccurate. (This became very evident to me after 2020.)

I want my kids to have a question and be able to look it up for an answer and for them to know how to discern whether the source where they are finding the information is truthful or accurate.

In matters of the heart, we know where to get the truth and that is the Bible. But in matters of science or technology or other subjects of the world, how do we find and test for reliable resources, because the internet is such an awesome tool and pretty soon will be the main resource in our future, but [it] can also be so tricky!

I would appreciate help and insight into this matter.

That’s a great question. We love the posture of that question at its core, the question of how do we live discerningly as believers with this element of culture where we are looking for information on the internet? And for this question, we wanted to bring in some other voices here at WORLD Magazine to help.

KELSEY: To help us tackle this question, we’ve invited a couple of parents, writers, educators. They are from around WORLD. You may recognize Collin Garbarino. His voice is familiar to those of us who listen to The World and Everything in It. He’s WORLD’s arts and culture editor. We also are welcoming Juliana Chan Erikson, a WORLD correspondent. And guys, we’re so excited to have you with us today.

COLLIN GARBARINO: Thanks. Glad to be here.

JULIANA CHAN ERIKSON: Thanks. I’m glad to be here too.

KELSEY: So first off, we would like to have a little more background. From your point of view, we would love to know, just what do you bring into this question? What’s your background in education? How many kids do you have at home? Just a little bit of background from each of you. Collin, would you start us off?

COLLIN: Sure. So we’ve got—I was going to say we’ve got four kids at home—but now we have three kids at home, because our oldest child has just headed off to college, freshman year and doing well. We’re very excited about that. So for almost their entire education, we’ve homeschooled them. So we’ve shepherded them through a lot of research projects, learning and looking at the world and, you know, a lot of tears over math problems. But in addition to that, I have taught for many years. For over a decade, I was a college professor teaching history classes. So I have a PhD in history. And there, you know, people don’t think about history as predominantly research and writing. But from the professional historian’s point of view, history is a lot of research and writing. So this question about source material, and how do you trust sources—it’s something that professionally we’ve dealt with on a day-to-day basis with a lot of our students.

KELSEY: Thank you. And we’re going to toss some of those questions to you, Juliana. Tell us about your experience in teaching and learning with your kids. Your other background too, please.

JULIANA: Sure. I have been married for 13 years, and I’ve got three kids, all boys. It seems like they’re considerably younger than Collin’s kids. They’re all in elementary school. They are ages 12, eight, and six. They’ve been schooled in public school settings as well as homeschool settings. So it’s a combination of dealing with teachers at school, but also me taking a turn and homeschooling them myself, along with my husband occasionally.

I also have a journalism background. I have a master’s in journalism. And even though I have the degree, I feel like I have the personality of being a reporter from, as a child, just asking lots of questions. And losing friends because I asked too many questions. But I feel like this question really resonated with me because it’s something that we as reporters wrestle with, and when I did work doing investigations for WORLD, I was constantly looking at source material and wondering: What’s the bias here? Can I trust this? And can I use this reliably to give to our readers?

KELSEY: So it’s because of your backgrounds and because of what children you have at home, and the diversity in which you are educating them, that you are really ideal for this conversation. And in terms of how you match up with what’s going on here, between Jonathan and me, our dynamic is I have kids from 18 down to seven, and Jonathan’s children are seven and younger. So we are across the spectrum between the four of us. So what joy to be able to source ideas and thoughts all together. I’m delighted to have you guys with us.

So in terms of those background elements, and the experiences you’re having with your kids in the state of life you are in and they are in, how do these things influence your thinking in this area? You’ve begun to talk about that a little bit, Juliana, and you as well, Collin. But if you can go into it a little bit more in depth, as to the influence of your thinking and your operation on even a day-to-day basis: How do you already see it having an impact on the way you disciple your kids?

JULIANA: It’s a really good question. I’m new to working with my children in terms of looking at the internet, because this is their first year being issued a laptop at school. So they are really going all over the place. And I’m kind of learning how to ask them questions about, how do you trust this? Do you know this is a website you can reliably source for answers to your questions? So we’re walking through this, and it’s very different from when I was growing up, for sure.

KELSEY: I would love for you to press into that a little bit. How does the way you grew up now affect this learning posture you’re having to take, this learning expression, even as you’re coaching learning? Or anything else it seems pertinent to share in terms of that change of technology?

JULIANA: I think it’s actually a lot easier now to find answers, but there’s just the volume of answers you have to look through. When I was growing up. The internet was still quite new. I remember in high school, not everyone had an email address. And when you looked for answers, you did have to do a good amount of scrolling to just find what exactly you were looking for. Now my son, my eight-year-old, he goes on there and he says—he just types in something, and Google just says the answer. And he takes it and he assumes that’s the answer, because Google said it to him.

KELSEY: Very interesting phenomenon there. And before we go any deeper, I want to pose the same questions to you, Collin, in terms of the rub between your background and how you disciple your kids. And you can throw some of the technology answer into the mix, of course, because we’re talking about the internet here.

COLLIN: So I have a somewhat unorthodox opinion on sources, I guess. I tell my kids, and I tell my students as well—although some other professors get very upset with me about this—but I tell my students that the first place, if you have a question about the world, the first place is probably to go look at Wikipedia and see what it says. We don’t trust Wikipedia implicitly. But it can oftentimes give you a quick enough rundown to answer any easy question you might have.

Once upon a time, 10 years ago, 15 years ago, people would say, “Well, anybody can write on Wikipedia, so you can’t trust it.” And that prejudice is slowly starting to fade, I think, just because we’ve gotten so used to it. But the beauty of Wikipedia is that—yes, anybody can write on it. And so frequently, if I see something I know is wrong, I will actually change it, because I can. And I’m not the only one doing that. As soon as an error shows up on the site, often within minutes, it’s been set to right by an army of nitpickers who are out there to make sure that all the t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted. So in some ways, the crowdsourcing element is a helpful thing, as far as internet research. The crowd has a certain wisdom to it that you can trust, rather than just one author who’s written an encyclopedia entry.

However, there are all kinds of dangers along with that. The crowds have biases. Sometimes a crowd can turn into a mob. So we don’t necessarily trust things, like I said, implicitly. But another great thing about Wikipedia is, I tell my children: Okay, we’re not going to use the website. Just scroll to the bottom and see what articles and books and newspapers it is citing, and then go read those and come to your conclusion about whether or not the information you’ve gotten through the encyclopedia is actually relevant or accurate. And then, if you have a real question, you can go back and look at the history of edits. If you don’t know how to go back and look at the history of edits on the site, go figure it out, because it’s fascinating to see who’s changed what and for what reasons.

KELSEY: There’s always something to learn.

COLLIN: There is! It’s probably, as far as just the raw accumulation of human knowledge, it’s probably the most useful thing on the internet so far.

KELSEY: So what I hear, this is Collin’s hot take: Wikipedia is a resource to be—it may be a treasure trove—to be sourced, to be delved into. Right?

COLLIN: So you’re not going to cite it in your research paper. But I say—okay, when I was a kid, my parents, by some gift of providence, had a set of encyclopedias for me. And I as a kid sat there and read those encyclopedias, because it was a nerdy thing to do, and we didn’t have anything else to read in the house. So I was reading these encyclopedias, and it became a springboard for curiosity. And there were a lot of my friends who just didn’t know some of the things I knew, because they didn’t have that springboard for curiosity. But now everybody has that springboard for curiosity. And I think that’s what we should use a site like Wikipedia for—not to gain actual knowledge, but to set us on the journey to pursue it. Let it be that springboard.

KELSEY: The things that I hear. In terms of criterion we use, our methodology on our show, we try to observe things. You’ve listed some great things we can observe just in the source of Wikipedia: that it’s crowdsourced; it’s something that has footnotes that can be mined. There’s an accountability that’s built in, not always the best accountability, but it exists in this because of the fact that it’s crowdsourced. So there are some things we can affirm. And at the same time as, as you’ve pointed out, if we’re mining something, we might need to look out for the mines in something. I think that’s what I’m trying to go for, that we have to watch out still about those areas where we can be tripping over things that are full of bias, or that are not as solidly founded as we might need them to be. And I like what you pointed to in terms of where you built a framework for being able to assess whether this was a good source, and that you assessed that from being widely read in other areas as well. So thanks for pointing to that.

I want to pivot over to Juliana, and ask the question that comes out of Collin’s answer, which is: What are the top things you keep in mind when you seek information by means of the internet?

JULIANA: When I’m doing my research—I should mention I’m also the relations reporter for WORLD—some of the things we do every week include writing a newsletter. We are constantly reading articles to include in our newsletter to share with our readers about what’s happening. And in my beat—which is marriage, family, sexuality, elder care, and other lifestyle issues—I’m looking across multiple sources, and checking to see if they’re saying the same thing. If they are, that is a green light for me. It’s something that I’m pretty sure is most likely accurate. I also try to see if the sources themselves are something that I trust, if it’s something that I’ve read in the past. Like Wikipedia—I’ve seen it, read it multiple times, I never source it to my articles, but it’s a good background for me, and I rely on it because it has been helpful in the past. And since it’s been helpful in the past and it has footnotes at the bottom, I can easily go down there and say, why do they believe this? And why did they say it this way? Maybe they interpreted in a different way than the original source, in which case I can look at those sources and make a comparison and say, well, maybe you read this and misinterpreted it. And then I will make a judgement on that.

I also look at the consistency of a source, and if have first-hand access. Generally, I like to look at local newspapers. If they’ve written on something that happened in their community, I’m more inclined to believe it because they’ve probably been there, and they’ve talked to a person in person, versus a secondhand source where it might be a regional or national paper, where they are subcontracted to someone else, to a local reporter, and they may be rewriting the same story. And then, when you’re rewriting the story, something might get lost, or may get misinterpreted. So if you really want to get to the heart of a situation, of a story, you might want to go look for the firsthand source, the firsthand detail, and discern from that whether you’ve got the answer there.

KELSEY: So I’m hearing a good scholarly process. It’s the age-old scholarly process of determining, where did this guy come up with his opinion, his data? What are his sources? Examining them, seeing if they are reliable, first and secondary sources. You’re interrogating them in the same academic manner you would a hardcopy resource. You just turned it to the internet and recognized that the internet has become our encyclopedia, as it were.

JULIANA: Yeah, and you’re doing a lot of reading as you’re going along. So I would encourage parents, if they are looking for an answer, or if their children are looking for an answer, to not just read the first couple things that come up. Don’t even judge what Google says. I mean, maybe Google is generally right, when you’re asking a question. But you know, if you really want to get a fuller picture of a topic—and especially if it’s a controversial one—you might want to scroll further and read a little bit more, spend a little bit more time on it, understanding the bias of the source, but also your own biases. Because you might want to read the things that you want to read. You want certain things to be true. And that is something you have to examine your heart for.

KELSEY: So we’re not only asking questions of the resources, and stretching our thinking instead of just falling into confirmation bias, but we’re also examining our hearts. And I really appreciate that point, that we’re doing interrogation of our own hearts and minds. Collin, I know we’ve talked before about some of the things you utilize in the classroom. It seems like this is a great point for you to pull out a tool you’ve mentioned in the past. Can you talk to us about one of the tools that you use with your students or recommend to them?

COLLIN: You know, I didn’t come up with this. This was handed to me by one of my mentors when I was in graduate school. And I just thought, hey, this is a very useful quick tool for thinking through a source. Usually, we would use this with analyzing some sort of primary source, some person who’s presenting themselves as an expert, or an eyewitness to something.

The tool goes through three levels of analysis. It starts with the most basic level, of understanding who actually produced this thing. And this is one point—I’ll just throw in this little bunny trail—there’s a lot of information on the internet where you can’t figure out who actually created it. And that should be a big red flag right off the bat. So the most basic level of analysis: Who created this? What is this document? And a date for it. When was it created? What’s the basic storyline associated with it? What’s its argument? What’s it trying to say?

The second level of analysis, I think, is the one that we sometimes assume, and it’s probably one we need to think through a little bit more carefully. It’s “Who is the intended audience of this document?” Because we all are very self-centered people, and we all assume we’re the intended audience. But if the person who’s writing it had a totally different audience than you in mind, and this—you know, the most obvious way to think about this is, say, for politics. If a Republican is writing a speech for fellow Republicans, and a Democrat hears that speech, they are going to hear different things than what the person who gave the speech was intending to communicate. Same thing with religion. If a Christian preacher is preaching to a Christian congregation, and a non-Christian with very little Bible background hears some of those words, they’re going to interpret those words differently. So what we need to do is, we need to identify who is the intended audience and try to place ourselves in that audience’s shoes, so that we can hear it like they would hear it. And then that helps us.

The next step is to discern what the speaker’s purpose is. Once we know who the audience is, and we know the genre of the document, it can help us understand what the purpose of the document is. And sometimes, unfortunately, the purpose of a document can be to mislead. Not everybody always tells the truth.

Which leads us to the third level of analysis, which would be: Can I trust this source? With my students, I often have to remind them, the answer is not “yes” or “no.” I think too often we fall into those categories. Can I trust this source? Yes or no? “Is this person on Twitter—I don’t like them anymore for something they said last week, so I can’t trust them anymore. So whatever they say is wrong.” And I’m just going to pile on, right?

Is this source trustworthy should be a much more interesting question, in that this source might be trustworthy for some things, but it might not be trustworthy for other things. Or, is this source trustworthy in that it’s telling me the facts, and I can glean the facts from this, but it’s presenting them with such bias, to try to lead me to a conclusion that I’m not going to follow it down?

So the binary choice of this is a “good” or this is a “bad” source is one I think, as Christians, we ought to try to reject. Which—I’ll just go off on my other bunny trail—which reminds me of the early church father Augustine of Hippo, who said—he was talking about the Platonists, who were pagan Greek philosophers—and he said, the Platonists, they’ve got some useful things in their philosophy that Christians can use and employ in their worship of God. He said it’s like when the Hebrews plundered the Egyptians on their way out of Egypt in the Exodus. He said, they took those precious items of gold and fine linens and things like that. And then what did they do? They built the tabernacle with it, and turned it into service for God. So just because somebody is not on our team, so to speak, doesn’t mean we can’t find something valuable and true, that we can then turn to noble, God-glorifying purposes.

KELSEY: We talk about that analytical work you’re speaking of, and the way we would maybe rephrase the question and put it in two parts. Instead of saying, “Is this trustworthy?” we say, “What can we affirm and what can we challenge?”

And of course, we need to have a framework. There’s a framework presumed when we speak those questions, and we presume the world is knowable, that truth is knowable, because God is knowable, and that He creates a standard for truth that allows us even to expand from there to a standard for what is beautiful, what is good. So we can affirm the things that are spoken that are truth, or that even refer truthfully about the brokenness in the world. There are ways we can just dive into resources, because they’re naming something that is good, true, and beautiful—naming something about the world that is a true observation, or even helping to reveal something about the brokenness of the world, and the need for Christ. So there’s a hermeneutic in play that you’re naming, that is very adaptable.

You also reminded me of the questions we ask in journalism. Again, those five W’s and an H that we refer to all the time. We’re asking, who told the story? And who is it for? We ask those same questions of scripture. You know, who was the original audience for this? And if it wasn’t me, then what can I learn from understanding that there’s a layer in between the original audience and what it was intended to instruct them about? So, so many great ways of standing back and getting a more complete picture, and not being afraid of the question, and not being offended by the question. Juliana, it makes me sad that our friends can sometimes be, you know, lost in the examination. But hopefully we make friends with the question, and recognize what a great tool it is for us. So thank you for the way that each of you have peeled back some of the layers of questioning and analysis that you do.

Any other recommendations that you would want to give, any other main takeaways you would want to share with parents and educators who would be listening in today? Juliana, I’m going to pose it to you first.

JULIANA: I was just thinking, I like your point, Collin, that you made about the question, about trustworthy or not. It’s not a binary question. It’s more about weighing the evidence and seeing where there might be some bias or slight inaccuracies, how things are posed. And I feel like that’s something I have taken to heart when looking at sources for my newsletter and for my articles that I do. Sometimes truth is actually enmeshed in falsehoods or inaccuracies. So sometimes there is truth in things that are not true. So it’s trying to tease out and figure out where the truth is, where the information might be, and trying to understand why the information might not be true.

I think about the disciple Thomas. I feel like that’s really resonated with me, his story, when he expresses skepticism about not believing until he sees the nail marks in His hands and puts his finger where the nails are. Because when he does, he believes, and I feel like that’s something, that’s the kind of skepticism I have as a journalist, but also sometimes as a believer. I feel like I want to see it. And I feel like that is something that a parent and child should—I think it’s okay to have a healthy skepticism about material you see on the internet. And, yes, I know, Wikipedia is a reliable source for me. But I think it’s also good to be a little skeptical when you look at material on the internet, because there’s always someone trying to persuade you to believe something. I think it’s okay if the doubting Thomases out there are skeptical, because it allowed Jesus to reveal Himself and say, “Here I am. Now go put your finger in my hand.”

KELSEY: The way He affirms doubt, that doubt is a part of our process, a part of our learning process. There are a number of other educators and theologians who talk about that doubt, and philosophers who talk about that doubt process. But for you to drive that back to Jesus’ affirmation of doubt as well, and laying the foundation for us to ask questions, and even to wrestle with Him—thank you for turning us towards that and reminding ourselves: this is not merely in empty philosophies. This is something that the Lord desires of us, and we see it in Thomas. We see it in Job asking question after question. So thanks for bringing us back in that place.

JONATHAN: Throughout our discussion, we’ve been using this word “bias.” And that brings to mind something, Collin, that you brought up in our chat before the show, about the difference between bias and falsehood. I would love for you to unpack that a little bit. Because I think that’s huge.

COLLIN: Bias has become such a dirty word in our current political climate, current cultural climate, that we fail to realize everyone has a bias. And usually we’re not holding those biases for nefarious ends. That’s just who we are and the way we see the world. And you guys talk a lot about worldview. It’s okay to recognize that other people have worldviews we need to understand, and what they’re doing is—people with different biases, different worldviews, are using the same raw material of the facts of this world to construct their narratives, to construct the stories they’re telling. So we shouldn’t go in thinking that this expert who is trying to explain how, you know—for example, when I’m reading the science section of the newspaper, and it has this scientist who’s explaining this wonderful new aspect of the human body, or the genome they’ve uncovered, and it explains why our bodies react this particular way to medicines or whatever, and then, comma, “and that’s because of evolution.” Right? And so that’s the lens they see the world through. And because that’s not the lens I see the world through, I shouldn’t throw away all of the scientific discovery that came before the comma. The facts can still be true, whereas the lens they’re viewing those facts through might be false. And that takes a little bit of work, to apply my own corrective lens to those things, and at the same time, allow my lens to be corrected when my own bias is out of line.

KELSEY: The lens is just as important as the facts. Identifying the lens and identifying the facts are equally valid, and part of stretching our ability to think, to maybe have multiple different points of views, to allow us to return and strengthen our own thinking and even writing. So that’s such a helpful thing. I was going to ask it along the lines of, do we dare tackle the ideas of misinformation and disinformation? But I think that helps us to cut through that really well. But if you feel like there’s more to be said in that area, I welcome you into that. Misinformation. Disinformation.

COLLIN: I think those terms tend to be used more as scare tactics to silence one side or the other. And instead of misinformation or disinformation or information, I would like for people to have conversations, where they can untangle some of these challenging ideas that are facing our society.

JULIANA: I think it’s good to lay out all of the information, because a reporter who is doing their work should be laying out every side. And a discerning reader, trying to find the answer to a question, should be looking at every side as well, especially if there are multiple sides, and people are trying to persuade you of one or the other, whether it be science or politics or religion. And I think that the more reading you do, the better.

KELSEY: I hear in that, “Do not fear.” I think that’s great. I really appreciate the way you affirm curiosity, doubt, questioning, and confidence. You know, we have a reason for confidence. I want to see if there’s anything else you feel like you’re just itching to be able to share before we pivot towards some more questions we might share with our listeners to use with their kids.

COLLIN: I’ve got one thing. Okay, so the internet is this big, wishy washy trove of information, and we have tools for navigating it. We need to remember, as we use those tools, that they have been designed to reinforce our confirmation bias. All of them are designed to reinforce our confirmation bias. And we need to be continually asking ourselves, as we’re researching hard questions—not the easy questions, because those are easy, right?—but the hard questions, we need to continually be asking ourselves about our own bias. And these things—even a simple Google search is designed for confirmation bias, because Google wants to give you the thing you asked for. Right? It doesn’t want to give you the thing you didn’t ask for. So if I’m worried about my health, and I type “dangers of caffeine,” Google is going to give me what I wanted. I’m afraid maybe caffeine is not good for me. All of the sudden Google is going to inundate me with information about the dangers of caffeine.

JULIANA: And soon you believe you have cancer.

COLLIN: So maybe this is just a helpful tactic for some of our listeners. Maybe you should, every time you Google one thing, Google the opposite of that thing, to get the other side. Because we sometimes naively assume that if I type “dangers of caffeine,” Google will give me a balanced list of results. It’s not. It’s going to give me what I asked for.

And here’s the scary thing: It’s going to remember what you asked for, because we all are logged into Google. So the next time you go to Google, it’s going to remember that you were worried about caffeine once upon a time. And it’s going to try to give you search results in line with somebody who’s worried about caffeine. And it knows. These algorithms know how you think, unfortunately, and so it’s going to continue to reinforce that confirmation bias.

So another helpful tactic: If you want to get out of your own search parameters for a little bit, sign out of your Google account and start doing fresh searches. Or open one of those privacy browsers that don’t keep track of your previous cookies and things like that, and see if you get a different set of search results based on the same queries. Because the internet remembers who you are, and it’s especially bad with things like Twitter and Facebook, that it wants to give you more of what it thinks you already want, which sends you down a rabbit hole of egoism, really. It sends you down a rabbit hole of thinking the entire world cares about the exact same things I care about. And I must be right about everything.

KELSEY: It’s interesting what you’re saying. Now, I think you’ve described it well enough for us to not necessarily explicitly define “confirmation bias.” But, folks who are listening, if that is not something you have a clear sense of what that is, may we even encourage you to define that with your kids and students. Go look up a good definition for what “confirmation bias” is.

But it leads me to this question that is maybe also part of this technological pivot. You know, I remember going to the library and having my query, having my search terms, and being reminded that the algorithm is designed differently than our library searches. This is actually not a neutral tool. And I have to be reminded of that quite often. I start trying to think about something from a neutral place that can sometimes falsely prescribe neutrality to one of these tools. So what you’re saying about kind of forcing it into a different way of thinking, or thinking very carefully about your search terminology, for you to arrive at it with the greatest neutrality that you can. That’s not always possible. So the other tools that you gave, so solid and so helpful for my thinking, as I think about the way that technology was designed very differently from, for example, the library.

COLLIN: I just want to add one other thing. The library search tool was designed to help you find books, right? The Google search tool is not designed to help you find information. It’s designed to sell ads. It’s designed to keep you using Google, instead of switching over to Bing. The entire purpose of these tools we use to navigate the internet is not actually to help us navigate the internet. It’s to turn us into a commodity that can be sold to advertisers or data miners, right? So just the awareness of who’s profiting and how they’re profiting can help us use these tools a little bit more responsibly. This is not the library card catalog.

JULIANA: Yeah, I was just going say that there’s this old adage: “If you’re not sure what the product is, the product is you.”

KELSEY: That’s very good. You know, we human beings, we’re made in the image of God. We’re made to be knowers. We have the authority over the technology that has been made by man. We need to take responsibility. Sometimes that’s hard work. But it’s good work, if you can get it. So thanks, guys.

I want to just switch over to where we’re going to encourage some specific questions. I have some of mine, that I want to encourage parents and teachers to use in the classroom. But please feel free to chime in.

Some of the things that come to mind that, parents, I think you might want to use at home:

Where have you—this is something posed to your student or your child—where have you learned about finding good sources? What have you learned about what is a good resource online?

If those resources are outside of us, outside of some of the trusted material we have given you as parents, how do those resources align with what we have pointed to as trustworthy?

How has what we have given you helped you to navigate all the information out there with confidence? Have other voices influenced your confidence about how to engage these resources?

What still troubles you or confuses you? Is it even possible to know the truth? And explain your answer. What informs your thinking?

And where can we go for true confidence?

So those are some questions that I have. Maybe they’re bordering on the philosophical, but they’re trying to source—what do our children already think? What do they already believe? What has been informing their thinking? What about from you guys?

COLLIN: One question I would add is, as we read, continually ask ourselves: Do I like this source because it makes its point well? Or do I like it because it agrees with what I thought was true before I started reading?

KELSEY: Again, that confirmation bias. What else, anything else you would share?

JULIANA: I was just thinking, just three simple thoughts. Do I trust the author of the webpage or the article I’m reading? Do I trust myself, and my understanding, and my reasoning? And then the last one: Am I open to other ideas? Am I open to understand the other person, an argument from the other side of whom I do not believe or trust?

KELSEY: That’s great, because that leads us to a very important discipleship response. We have, again, a knowable God, who makes our world knowable, and makes us full of that shalom, that confidence, that peace, and even joy and hope. Many of our peers in the world, they don’t have the same hope and confidence we have. And we’ve been called into that space, to come alongside, to encourage, to share words of hope. And sometimes we need to be able to just be aware of our peers’ thinking, aware of the things that are informing their thinking in order to be able to build that bridge to them, and share those words of hope, the good news. So thank you for the way that you pointed to that as well, Juliana.

We want to point all of us to our reason for hope. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

JONATHAN: And I think of 1 Corinthians 13:12: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

KELSEY: Parents, teachers, mentors: You are uniquely positioned to have the greatest impact on the kids and teens in your life. He has equipped you for the work.


Show Notes

The internet is full of conflicting information. How can you know what to trust? WORLD Magazine’s Collin Garbarino and Juliana Chan Erikson join the show to help us wrestle with this pressing listener question.

We would love to hear from you. You can send us a message at What current events or cultural issues are you wrestling through with your kids and teens? Let us know. We want to work through it with you.

See more from the News Coach, including episode transcripts.

Further Resources:


  • Read “Seek Wisdom in the Age of Algorithms” by Steve Bateman at The Gospel Coalition.
  • Engage with Collin Garbarino’s analytical approach to the news:
    • Level One: Who wrote it? When was this written? What type of document is it? What is the main story line?
    • Level Two: Who is the intended audience? Why was it written? What can the reader safely assume based on this source?
    • Level Three: Can I believe this document? How trustworthy is the source? What biases does it contain? What can I learn about the society or person who created this document? How does it relate to its context?


Concurrently is produced by God’s WORLD News. We provide current events materials for kids and teens that show how God is working in the world. To learn more about God’s WORLD News and browse sample magazines, visit

This episode is sponsored by Summit Ministries.

At Summit Ministries, we equip parents and leaders and give kids a stronger foundation to embrace a biblical worldview and learn to navigate complex topics, such as abortion, doubts, evolution, gender identity, and more. Save your seat in a Colorado or Georgia session this summer!

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


Please wait while we load the latest comments...