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Outsider in my own house

December 8, 2023 at 5:00:00 PM

Elise Gao ‘26

With the Israeli-Palestinian conflict raging abroad, it has recently come to my attention how little teens know about world events. In the age of the internet, where information is more accessible than ever, it is ironic that people are less informed, or even worse, misinformed. 

It is easy to be misled by the overwhelming amount of information available on the internet accessible through a simple Google search, even if you only click on the first link that comes up. However, during the age of technology, people–especially younger generations such as Gen-Z–prefer to watch a twenty-second TikTok as opposed to reading a news article from a reputable source.

To refresh your vocabulary: misinformation is false news, and disinformation–a more common problem nowadays–aims to deliberately mislead by leaving out crucial facts. Many people fall victim to the latter.

According to Forbes, teens prefer to get information through social media–a medium in which disinformation runs rampant. Due to the short attention spans most teens have regarding the internet, they are more willing to trust the first source that pops up on their feeds, rather than check for credibility or explore the information presented on other news sites. More often than not, influencers become their news outlet–accurate or not–over actual, reliable news sources such as the Associated Press or the New York Times.

Part of the problem also lies with the growing disinterest in current events. Notably at Mercersburg Academy, in a town in rural America very isolated from the rest of the world, students–myself included–are less inclined to look up current happenings so long as they don’t interfere with our day-to-day lives.

However, I believe that global events do matter and that it is important to check on them every once in a while. Just as the pandemic of absent voters in the youth demographic is detrimental, so is their absence or lack of knowledge of world affairs. Contrary to popular belief, global occurrences do have consequences in your life. The Russian-Ukrainian conflict is driving inflation–in particular, gas prices. Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are rising due to Israel and Palestine’s ongoing struggle, possibly affecting some of your friends and peers. 

Educating oneself about the current situation is especially important with stakes as high as these. Once of age, your vote can help ensure that the agendas of those in power match the general populace.

Since many of us can’t engage in voter activism, Mercersburg has held a brown bag lunch and offered resources to students interested in the topic, but the problem is that many people aren’t willing to inform themselves. So, students, I encourage you to spare some time to look up what’s happening in the world. Learn just a little bit about the world you live in, it’s quite a big place. 

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