Technology creates naive citizens

As I sit with my group of friends every night for dinner, there is not a time when someone doesn’t find the latest crazy video or breaking news event on their phone or laptop. To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I didn’t find out the majority of my news from my friends.

We live in an age of instant communication right at our fingertips all the time. According to a Forbes article, only seven percent of communication is actually verbal or written. 93 percent is based on nonverbal language such as texts and social media.

I’m all in support of all the new things that technology has brought us. As I’m writing this, I’m watching a YouTube video, logged into Twitter and working on homework (maybe). The majority of contact with other people is either through email or Facebook. However, sometimes all this technology has its downfalls.

I enjoy being interactive and social with others, but sometimes I’m completely out of touch with the world. About a week ago, the government shutdown was more of a surprise to me than it should have been. How could this have happened? The truth is, Congress kept passing short bills extending the time limit to agree on a funding bill. It was in the news a couple of weeks before the shutdown occurred. I just didn’t have the motivation to research more about the news I found on my phone.

As the typical college student, I’m usually only focused on passing my classes in order to graduate. However, it’s important to be informed about what’s going on in our country and throughout the world. It affects us more than we think.  Those 800,000 people who are out of work because of the government shut down can influence our recovering economy and our ability to find jobs after our college years.  Being informed about current events can help us make decisions and be a better part of our society.

What if something happened that changed our country, yet we ignored it because we don’t think it’s a concern with our private lives? An uninformed society can be the consequence of the amount of news we receive 24/7.

While living on a college campus, reading the news is probably not one of the things that a student wants to do with his or her free time. But there are outlets available around UW-Eau Claire to provide students with the option. The Collegiate Readership Program is one of these outlets. Sponsored by Student Senate, it provides students with access to USA TODAY, The New York Times and the Eau Claire Leader Telegram at no cost. There are racks located in many academic and dorm buildings.

Since most online news websites have a pay wall, a program designed for viewers to read a certain number of stories before they have to pay a fee or subscribe to read more, the Collegiate Readership Program certainly gives students the affordability to be able to catch up on current events.

So while you watch those crazy videos and those other social perks, remember that being an informed citizen can help make our society more mindful about the world.