Teens and global awareness

Posted: December 7, 2013

Taking time to catch up: why it’s important for teens to stay informed about global events

Refugees flee Syria. Aid pours into the Philippines. Nuclear talks between the US and Iran are stalling. These are a few of the many current events happening in the world right now, and many teenagers do not know about them. The lack of knowledge about current events in the world around them seems to be a problem among many teens.

“We don’t see this kind of thing happening at home to us,” said sophomore Kitra Katz. “I think that’s why it’s harder for us to relate to these events, we kind of get caught up in our own little bubble and forget about the world around us.”

Katz herself tries to keep up on current events and get involved.

“When I found out about it, I was just horrified,” said Katz, referring to the super typhoon that hit the Philippines. After she heard about the devastation she decided to start a fundraiser at school, which unfortunately didn’t work out.

Social studies teacher Elizabeth Van Pilsum agrees with Katz that teenagers aren’t always as up-to-date as they should be.

“I think a huge part of it is even though people can read the news online, they don’t,” said Van Pilsum. “In people’s busy lives they don’t have the time to Google CNN or watch the news with their parents.”

Van Pilsum has observed that as students get older they seem to pay more attention to global affairs.

“When freshmen first come into Amnesty International, they’re wondering what’s the situation in Darfur, or in Syria, and the seniors help them out,” said Van Pilsum. She also said that learning about the history of a place helps students understand the current situation better.

Most teenagers have never been in or experienced these events occurring around the world and find it hard to relate to and care about them. However, we need to stay informed to participate in our democracy.

“In order for us to have an effective government, we need an informed an informed populace to make decisions,” said senior Michael Everett.

With so many events happening all at once around the world, it seems overwhelming to try to stay up-to-date.

“I get Twitter feeds from Politico, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, so I just hit follow and that’s the way I get all the top news stories,” said senior Michael Everett. “It’s a way to stay engaged throughout the day that’s more appealing to our generation that uses social media constantly.”

He also suggests reading the paper on the weekend if you have time.

“It’s enjoyable and there’s so much more content than in a tweet,” said Everett. “It goes more in-depth and you understand the story much better.”

Staying connected in our world is easier than it seems; just carve out some time to sit down, open a paper and catch up on the news.



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