We are Generation Z: the digital generation. We now live in a world surrounded by computers, touch screens and smartphones. We are fortunate enough to have been granted access to a constant pool of knowledge at the touch of a finger. Letters have been replaced with emails and phone calls or visits to friends have been replaced with texting and social networking.
Though our generation is high-achieving, it can also be very lazy. We have access to technology and can do good with it, yet we do not use it for that.
The Internet floods you with information and problems occurring around the world. We get news from places from near and far, all compiled into one center of stories and information. This overload of information makes it hard to care for and focus on solving one problem.
For example, Twitter will show you tons and tons of clips of news stories and while they are informative, they do not necessarily promote activism.
Nowadays, we as students will wake up before going to school and instead of reading a newspaper, we will pull out our smartphones. We wake up and read what people tweeted while we were sleeping, or check what our friends updated on Facebook.
Furthermore, we receive a wide variety of news daily. My Twitter feed, for example, is full of clips of news stories that I mindlessly scroll through. And even if I take the time to read each and every story, I generally do not retain much of the information.
It is especially hard to focus on the important news stories when I am also looking at things my friends have recently posted.
We get a mix of truly important news from around the world in addition to the gossip of the day.
For example, you might see a news post about the protests in Ukraine and right below you may see a funny cat picture or selfie your friend has recently shared.
This mix of the trivial with the nontrivial is confusing, for one begins to perceive both stories at the same level of importance.
Nonetheless, everything you see on social media seems casual. Social platforms like Facebook or Twitter were originally intended for people to keep in touch with their friends, not as a source of news. This casual feel also subtracts from the significance of the news stories.
Today, when you see something you care about online you generally “like” the status or “favorite” the post. In cases when you see a tragic picture asking for a share or “like.” You feel good about clicking that “like” button and that is just about where your involvement with that story ends. I would call that apathy, wouldn’t you?
“Liking” a picture expresses minimal concern for a certain topic, but it does not actively help or make a change.
Overall, apathy is a social problem that will take a while to solve, that is, if we ever even manage to start addressing the issue.
However, that does not mean that there is not anything we can do in the mean time to try to solve this social issue.
I encourage you to stand up and take action. Instead of simply liking a photo of, for example, a poor sick and starving child in Africa, put down your phone and help the community around you.
Be an activist, do something meaningful and be aware of the mix of news and trivial stories that pop up on your feeds.