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Social media provides news, connections to high school students

Screens brighten, a swipe of the screen unlocks the device. A touch on screen opens an app. Feeds of friends, family and food greet the user as they scroll through their social media profile.

With young people having access to many social media platforms, statistics shown by PewResearch and Nieman Lab indicate that teenagers, receive news more accurately and are more capable of finding discerning between fact and opinion than adults who are over 50 years old.

Danielle Foster | The Feather Online

Teens spend nine hours on their phone each day, according to an article published by CNN.

Young people spend at least nine hours a day on their phone, according to CNN, and that doesn’t even include time at school. According to recent polls conducted on FC students show that social media holds to be one of the most used news sources.

Selah Draper, ’22, points out that many social media platforms provide awareness of what is going on in the world. She believes that teens should know about the news so they can assist in benefitting the world around them.

“Snapchat has that little section where it’s just news, and it’s accessible to everyone,” Draper said. “Not a lot of adults have an outlook on social media or even electronics, so I think that really contributes to how teens are learning in a bit of a different way than how adults are learning. We all have different outlets of learning and everybody thinks in a different way.”

At Fresno Christian, 17% of high schoolers affirm Snapchat as one of their sources of news. Snapchat not only holds filters that friends play around with and make memories with, it also contains a section filled with the latest breaking news as well as other people’s “stories” to engage with. Stories offer users an opportunity to snap pictures and videos to share with added friends that disappear after a day.

Editor-in-chief Alex Rurik examines the concept of “fake news” and strategies to discern truth.

Aimee Castaneda, ’21, believes that teens hold more of an advantage in finding out about news quicker than the average adult does, and that teens should be aware of what’s happening in the world so they can help change it.

“Teens need to be informed about what is going on in their world, and they need to also see how they can make a difference out there and make the world a better place,” Castaneda said. “Teenagers are on social media all the time, and most adults don’t have that. They’re usually at work and they don’t have time to see the news, while teens are constantly on it and they catch everything at the start. They see more of what is going on.”

Instagram is one of the most used social platforms behind Facebook and Youtube according to Dream Grow.  50% of FC high schoolers use Instagram as their main source of news, and 75% worldwide. With 800 million users logged on, teens scroll through feeds and find out about news every moment of the day.

With access to current articles and different topics, Anthony Diaz, ’19, points out that if teens venture into the news for themselves, then they can form their own opinion about local, national and world affairs.

“Knowing about the news allows teens to give an informative belief of their own,” Diaz said. “They can form their opinions a lot better, as opposed to listening to other people who might not know exactly what they’re talking about. It’s more of a direct acknowledgement of what’s actually going as opposed to what someone else says.”

“I also think the quickness of getting the information is an advantage,” Diaz continued. “But as far as anything else, there’s more drama when you get it on social media because you’re gonna have a lot of biased media as opposed to getting it directly from the source. So as far as disadvantages, adults aren’t going to get the information as fast. All we have to do is open up the app when we get an update.”

There are many different reasons why kids like to stay updated in the news. Many said because they want to stay in the loop, how it impacts others, and they can understand the world better. Others said that they can take better precautions in protecting themselves, and how to interact with others who do know what is going on.

Danielle Foster | The Feather Online

Remaining informed about the world allows students to develop an opinion on events and actions that influence their life.

Feather advisor and US History teacher, Kori Friesen shares that when a teenager is informed about news, it affects the way they understand the world around them.

“News can play a vital role in helping teens develop their personal opinions and perspective on a lot of things,” Friesen said. “I think it’s important for kids to be able to stay informed and know what’s happening in the world around them. Not everybody is going to want to take a stand or get involved but just by knowing about things allows yourself to take an interest that might benefit you later on.”

“News these days are more accessible than ever with apps like Instagram and Twitter,”  Friesen continued. “It’s all there in a push of a button, at your fingertips all day long. The question is if it’s a reliable source. Because of the ease of access, people are going to believe whatever they see, and I think there needs to be more caution in what we are reading.”

For more articles on this subject, read ABC30 producer shares view on media bias and COLUMN: Becoming a smarter news consumer.

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