Staying Connected

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Staying Connected

By Mikayla Carroll

The chaos of the world has a way of making us feel more alone, even with all the platforms that now connect us.  Although I’m “connected” in all the right ways, via my use of every social media outlet from Twitter to Snapchat, I still tend to feel out of the loop when it comes to current events and the news.

            I hit the follow button on news outlets such as The New York Times or the Associated Press to keep myself updated, but even as I do this, I still find myself scrolling right past major headlines. At times, it feels like a form of sensory overload. I wake up every morning and scroll through the news on my cell phone. I walk out into the kitchen and the local news is on television. I go to school and my teachers are discussing the major news stories of the day. Meanwhile, most of my classmates seem disinterested in what pressing issue has been  happening on the other side of the world and, instead, are more concerned about what happened with their friends the previous night.

            Teenagers roll their eyes at adults who are “out-of-touch” but there is something much worse about not understanding the basis of, say, a political movement over a joke on Twitter. We all have our own worlds, our own perceptions of the world, and it’s important to have a knowledge base for that. Sometimes adults that are set in their ways can be worse than teenagers, in this sense. Young people are typically more open to new ideas and concepts, more accepting, more willing to learn new information and expand their opinions. At first, it can seem overwhelming, picking up a newspaper or scrolling through a news website, as there is always so much to catch up on in this ever-changing world.

            We live in a fast paced society. One minute away from Facebook and you come back to a refreshed timeline with breaking news everywhere. Some are guilty of immediately engaging in an argument over social media with every person they come across that has a differing political view. Others are guilty of letting people spread false information and fake news over the internet, and not interjecting to set the record straight. Most fall into this bystander category.

            Many feel that there are injustices that they want to speak out on, but feel they don’t know enough to boldly make their claims. Sometimes I feel this way, when I want to share an opinion on something political, but I hesitate, simply because I am afraid of someone knowing more trying to correct me.

            Even the most well-read person on the planet has flaws in their arguments. Even the most educated are not always right. It’s not unheard of for students to simply come to school and repeat everything they heard at home, easily swayed by their parent’s opinions and beliefs, not caring enough to form an opinion of their own.

            Recognizing our own privilege is an important part of forming our own beliefs. When we realize that we are not being affected by an injustice, it cannot be commonplace to simply ignore it because it does not impact us. Simply ignoring the world’s events, simply declaring them invalid because they don’t negatively affect us is the issue, and it should instead be our job to reverse the injustice, and not invalidate it. Once we see how our own biases and backgrounds influence our opinions, we can begin to see the world more objectively and pay more attention to the world instead of scrolling past it.