News or Snooze: How has the past year affected students interest in current events

How has the past year affected students interest in current events

Eleanor Peterson

Every time you open Instagram or turn on the news, something new is happening. From the outbreak of Covid-19, to the Black Lives Matter protests, to the 2020 election, it seems that this past year has been a constant flow of breaking news.

     “I would say 2020 and everything that was happening with COVID and everything has really made a lot of people pay attention to current events more,” junior Alonzo Fandrem said. “I think it’s a mixture of people just being lonely in their houses and just not knowing what to do and paying attention to other things that are going on around the world just to get that feeling of being out in the world.”

     A lot of students found themselves with an increasing interest in what was going on in the world in the initial weeks of quarantine, previously an interest that many didn’t have the time to indulge.

     “I don’t think I was watching the news at all before COVID happened,” junior Misaki Yonemura said. “I just didn’t have enough time.”

     With the pandemic, and no longer going to school, students have had a lot more time to watch the news and take the time to form their own opinions.

     “I started watching a lot more news,” Yonemura said. “At the start it was mostly right wing, because my parents are Republicans so we watch a lot of Fox News, but I eventually learned that I had to form my opinion on my own instead of just going off of what everyone’s saying.” 

     According to a study by Cambridge University, children tend to base their political opinions off of their parent’s ideas. They also found that many children who may initially acquire the same political views as their parents are more likely to shed them later on in life.

     “I think more people should be paying attention to current events and news,” Fandrem said. “A lot of people aren’t educated on what’s going on and so they just follow along with whatever their parents say and their friends say instead of forming their own opinions based on what they see.”

     While it’s important to stay caught up with what’s going on in the world, seeing all the tragedy and all the things going wrong can really take a toll on one’s mental health. According to Verywell Mind, in an article in which they spoke to multiple licensed psychologists and analyzed another article by the CDC, they found that keeping up with negative news, like the Coronavirus pandemic, while important, can negatively affect one’s mental health. Consuming too much of this kind of media can affect your mood as well as your sleep and eating patterns.

     “It is kind of tiring,” Yonemura said, “because you do have to keep looking at the news and watching tragedy after tragedy happen, and it’s stressful.”

     Overall though, Yonemura has found that paying attention has helped them grow as an individual. “It’s made me more inclined to wait until all of the evidence has been presented for me to form my own opinion. [It’s made] me more inclined to be able to form my own opinion without anybody influencing.”

 

We asked 282 students to rate their interest in current events before the pandemic and their interest in them now, heres what they said.