Teenagers and the dangers of the news

Nicole Hume, Staff Writer

It’s no exaggeration to say that the number of sources of news in today’s world is at once amazing and threatening. For the first time, people truly have a world of information at their fingertips. While for the most part this change has been beneficial, it has also caused a jarring shift in how people get their news. 

Since so much information is available, people are far less likely to put effort into obtaining accurate and credible information, which makes the trend of teenagers using social media as a news source all the more disappointing. Teenagers don’t need the top trending page or other people telling them what they heard from so-and-so: they need accurate and reputable sources that give them the honest truth. 

Social media is something of a mixed bag for reliable news sources. Some of the accounts online are trustworthy, and others are decidedly not. The problem with social media is that it is accessible to everyoneeven those who are misinformed or are not qualified to speak on certain topics. Amid factual statements, there are also grossly exaggerated falsehoods or stories that cover up the truth. Trusting everything one hears from social media is dangerous, especially when people decide to share misinformation, continuing the cycle of misleading knowledge. 

If social media cannot always be trusted, then those that are close to you, like friends and family, should be trusted, right? Wrong. The people around you may not be the most accurate sources of news either. Even your parents may be influenced by false or biased news. While hearing other people’s opinions is a good way to develop a better sense of understanding about the world, these opinions must always be taken with a grain of salt and the knowledge that they may not always be completely correct.

So what should teenagers do? If they can’t turn to their parents or to social media, where do they turn? The answer is to go straight to the news sources themselves. 

Don’t wait for someone to say, “I heard from CNN” or “FOX News said.” Go look at them yourself. Make sure to check several news sources to fully understand what is happening. Many publishers offer free articles filled with fact-checked information that someone could form their own opinions from. It is hard to make sure to double check what you hear, and most days you will want to just throw your hands up and say “Well, if they believe it, so do I.” But becoming a well-informed citizen takes effort, and it is something that every teenager has the responsibility to do.