fake_news

Do Teenagers Care About Fake News? Or Current Events in General?

fake_news

On a recent episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask, the topic of fake news came up and because they were talking to a teenager, they got his opinion on it.  Louie Swisher is a high schooler and he admitted to not paying attention to the news during the 2016 election.  What’s interesting is that he told the interviewers that he doesn’t use Facebook or Twitter.  He also suggests that within 10 years these kinds of platforms are going to die out.  What does Louie use?  Snapchat is his main way of talking to people.  I want to talk about some of these statements that Louie makes.  I may sound like I’m being hard on Louie, but that’s not my intention.  I think there are some holes in his statement and I would like to explore them.

Let’s first talk about why he didn’t pay much attention to the 2016 election.  Because he’s a kid!  Yes, he’s old enough to understand this stuff, but honestly who cares at that point?  I am a hard-core political nerd and I didn’t start looking at things politically until I was old enough to vote.  For me, it was like I was in a bubble and I honestly didn’t care.  I left that kind of worrying up to my parents.  Besides, what could I even do?  I wasn’t old enough to vote. I might have had a part-time job.  Social media didn’t exist during that time for me, and I was discouraged from taking any kind of political stance by my parents at an early age.  But even in today’s society, I don’t think that people care all that much.  They’re worried about their English paper that’s due on Friday, or getting into college.  And I think that’s fair.

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Another argument along this same line is that he doesn’t use Facebook or Twitter.  I use Twitter, but mostly for news.  Again, I wasn’t reading the news all that much when I was Louie’s age.  That doesn’t mean I wasn’t aware of things going on in the world, but not to the extent that news is 24/7 in our modern day, because of things like Twitter.  I would like to go back to this argument about Louie not caring.  If he’s too busy working on his next assignment, or even spending time with his friends, why is he worried about what’s going on in the world?  Maybe that’s too narrow-minded, but I think there is too much pressure on kids to be super-woke.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t have an idea of what’s going on in the world, but you don’t have to know the name of every member of Trump’s cabinet.

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Lastly, I want to address this idea that there won’t be a Twitter or Facebook in 10 years. I don’t think Louie is correct with this one.  Sure, I expect that Twitter and Facebook will change dramatically in that time frame, but I don’t think they are going to give up the ghost.  I think once he gets a bit older, people in his generation are going to start turning to these tools in order to get the information they’re looking for.  I could be wrong on that one, as I don’t have a crystal ball in front of me, but I don’t think he quite understands what Twitter is used for.  He does suggest that it’s only old people and Donald Trump using it.  Will we stop caring about Twitter if Donald Trump stops? Maybe, but maybe not. I do think that kids Louie’s age don’t care about fake news because they don’t care about the news to start with.