David Morrill of Portland, Oregon, was involved in conspiracy theory communities online until a mental health crisis forced him to confront his beliefs. He talked with his father about how he found his way back to reality. Their conversation is part of our Student Reporting Labs series on misinformation, “Moments of Truth.”
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Who the focus of this story, and what is his background?
When did David Morrill start engaging with online conspiracy theories?
What are some of the conspiracy theories Morrill came to embrace?
Why do embracing these theories start to effect Morrill’s mental health?
How did Morrill’s father help his son move away from conspiracy theories?
At one point in this interview, David Morrill says working through puzzles of conspiracy theories felt like a “hero’s journey”? What do you think he meant by this? Do you think the feeling he describes is an attraction of many conspiracy theories?
Media Literacy: Why do you think this story was put together by high school reporters? What does that add to the storytelling?
Conspiracy theories might spread like wildfire online, but conspiratorial thinking long predates the internet. Classrooms can use this lesson to discuss common conspiracy theories through U.S. history and compare then to now.
Lesson Plans for Digital Citizenship and Safety
Help students become more critical consumers of what they see online with these free preK-16 lesson plans and resources on digital safety and media literacy.