Staying informed just as important as updating your status

by Crystal Branden

brandencr@mnstate.edu

Watching the news, reading newspapers, and staying informed in general seems to be something younger people lack. Sure, we hear about things on social media, but when do we actually absorb and understand what is happening in the world around us?

Staying informed in a society rampant with news flashes and headlines can be hard. Finding what is truly important to be aware of can be especially challenging.

In this day and age, young people tend to spend a majority of time online and don’t see watching the nightly news as a way to connect with the world.

The only problem with an Internet fascination is that misinformation is a key element of the web. Lies and hoaxes are ever present.

Though it is harder to filter through the unimportant or fake stories, it is still just as important to be aware of what is happening. Consider the phrase, “If you’re not outraged, then you’re not paying attention.”

It is easy to be complacent in the country we live in, and if you are not informed, you can seem out of touch with not only the world, but with the people around you as well.

People often discuss the world’s social, political and economic issues, and our culture reflects on the position of these world issues.

To each their own, but by learning about the issues around us, we can defend and protect our rights. Imagine if the Holocaust were to happen now — the disappearance of select groups of people, paired with its violence would have been exposed early on. This is why being informed is so important; if no one paid attention, the world would be filled with unjust events and no one would know.

I personally spend most of my time online reading articles from multiple websites. As a kid, I practically lived under a rock. I did not know what was going on in the world, and I hardly knew of any issues. In short, I thought everything was just peachy.

I have learned being in the dark makes me feel out of touch. It is more comforting to know what is going on around me. Not having to ask people what they are talking about is refreshing. Being informed is not only a social benefit, but a personal benefit.

Being informed does not involve having to do in-depth research; it only requires paying attention to what is happening in the world. Whether it’s watching the news, reading a newspaper, reading articles online, or even reading posts on your Facebook feed, staying informed is key to being a knowledgeable, responsible citizen.

Harvard University and the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government conducted a study on 1,800 randomly sampled teens, young adults, and older adults to examine the amount of daily news young people consume.

An average of 40 percent of young people hardly ever or never pay attention to news through any outlet. This means a large percentage of young people do not pay attention to the world around them.

In a time where information is at our fingertips, it can be hard to sift through and understandably difficult to judge what is accurate and important.

Even though it can be trying, we as a culture are more privileged. We can find news in seconds without having to wait or even leave our homes, making being informed all the more important.

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