Keeping up with the coronavirus


CAPTION: FAKE NEWS. As social media progresses and expands, teenagers are more exposed to fake news than ever. And in the current COVID-19 era, this could mean a lot of trouble.

   It’s no secret that formerly print news has started spreading onto social media. From the New York Times to the Washington Post, all the publication giants have gradually migrated to promoting on various social platforms.

   With this change, teenagers have started becoming more exposed to current events. While scrolling through their Instagram feed or Twitter page, they might come across a post with the complete package: a picture, quotes, and shocking statistics. However, is this purely beneficial?

   According to a poll conducted by Common Sense and SurveyMonkey, “more than half of teens (54%) get news at least a few times a week from social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and 50% get news from YouTube.” At the same time, though, a 2019 Statista poll states that 52 percent of social media users regularly stumble upon fake news. 

   And in times of crisis like today with the current COVID-19 pandemic, keeping up with the daily and correct news is crucial. Whether simply knowing the symptoms or keeping track of the number of cases, being informed can raise awareness and protect an individual’s health and the health of other people around them. 

   However, from my observations, it seems as if many are not actively seeking out the right information. Honestly, I need more than ten fingers to count the number of times I’ve seen “We’re all going to die!”. This sort of talk is what leads to something that spreads as fast as the virus itself—unnecessary mass hysteria, or in this case, pandemic hysteria.

   With the current quarantine, everyone is separated and stuffed at home, leading to easily provoked agitation. And from the recent news, the arising hysteria has led to unnecessary mass purchasing of groceries, hoarding of masks, and even racial harassment to Asians.

   Some SHS students report having a community of teens informing themselves.

   “Well personally, I try to find the best stats I can but sometimes it’s hard for me to gauge what’s actually right. But the people I’m around take it pretty seriously but I don’t think people did until it became a problem here,” said Ellie Stadelmman, 12. 

   Some other students have noticed a lack of informed teenagers.

   “I don’t think teens are aware of how dangerous the coronavirus is, so I don’t really think we’re very aware of the situation. Most of the things we know we probably heard from our parents and maybe the news too, but honestly, I think we’re too busy trying to get school work done rather than informing ourselves of the situation,” said Heather Song, 12. 

   Others have seen a mix.

   “I do for the most part believe that teenagers are aware of the impact of the situations. Many of my friends have completely stopped interacting with anyone outside of their household because their parents and grandparents are at the highest risk. However, there are some teenagers who are unaware of the risks that come with going out with friends and disregard all of the warnings that have been given,” said Oliver Johnson, 11.

   All in all, keeping yourself informed with the current news is crucial to not only help you but also the entire population as a whole.