Yesterday, there was a hoax running around the Internet. It made its way to Twitter, Facebook, and other places that Adam Sandler had died in a snowboarding accident in Switzerland. As it often the case, people run with these stories for one reason or another. Part of me was skeptical, though, so when I posted a link to the story I said "I want to believe this is a hoax, but in case it's not..."
Over the course of just a few minutes, people were coming out and saying "oh, so sad" and "wait, how come this isn't on other media"... but what I thought was cool was the fact that, in one of the replies early on, my son posted "you cant click any of the above links on the site, so it looks a little fishy", meaning the links in the "newspaper site's" headers.
My kid beat me to the punch. He didn't just take the story at face value, he decided to see if there was other information about the site reporting it, and found enough inconsistency to question the sites veracity or validity. This started other posters making comments, and finally a friend of mine I'd worked with a decade ago said "Hey Michael, notice the URL? See how the first two prefixes are 'Adam.Sandler'? Put in another name and see what happens. I just put in 'Michael.Larsen'... hey look, you're dead!"
Sure enough, that was the case. The site was a hoax, and I'm happy to report that Adam Sandler is alive and well and not dead because of an accident snowboarding. I'm also happy to report that my son is exhibiting the sleuthy traits that make for an excellent tester. I told him as much in the replies to my post, and recommended he either embrace this side of himself or run for the hills screaming. No answer from him on that reality just yet :).
What I do find cool about this is the fact that our kids are looking at the web and what's being disseminated and they are not as quick to believe or accept on the surface what many of us older folks might. It feels a little depressing to call myself an "older folk"; I'm Generation X, that used to be cool and hip. To my son, though, I realize I have the acumen, attitude and persona of Elmer Fudd (as well as the haircut... and if any of you answer back with "Who's Elmer Fudd?", I swear I'll unleash a middle-age rant on you that you won't soon forget (LOL!) ).
Seriously, though, I used to be concerned that kids would be easily duped or swayed by the Internet or by their sources of information. Instead, many of them have healthy distrust and questioning meters, and they actively use them. I think this bodes well for the future members of our profession. Whether or not my son will be one of them I guess remains to be seen :).