Even with no direct effect, you should still pay attention

By Megan Hale | Reporter

With a society built on shifting sands and power-hungry leaders, the past several years have held many unexpected trials. Between the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19 and now a raging war in Ukraine, being informed about current events and having access to accurate news sources is vitally important.

As I have immersed myself into the culture of college with my peers over the past several years, I have developed a growing concern over the lack of awareness young adults have about news and worldwide current events. Researchers have also looked into the downward trend, according to an article released by Pew Research. With the diversity of platforms available to access news, such as podcasts, television and apps, being oblivious and unaware is a choice that the security of our society cannot risk. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”

When discussing the conflict in Ukraine with several of my peers, I have repeatedly heard the rationalization, “This doesn’t affect me, so why should I care?” This is a selfish response to excuse ignorance. As students at a Christian university, and people of moral character, we must be aware of what is happening around the world. With 85% of Ukrainian citizens identifying as Christians in 2015, many of these innocent individuals are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Mark 12:31 calls Christians to love one’s neighbor as oneself; however, you must first be willing to know your neighbor and the trials they are facing, in order to properly love them.

Individuals must also be cognizant of where they are getting information from and if their sources are reputable. According to a statistic by Statista, social media is the most popular outlet for young adults, 18 to 34 years old, to get their dose of daily news. Yet, social media platforms are known for being breeding grounds for fake news and misinformation. According to an article released by Pew Research, Americans who get their news primarily via social media tend to be less informed, less engaged and less knowledgeable. It is important to get information from multiple outlets and various sources in order to decrease the chance of bias.

We have a responsibility to be informed citizens as moral humans and as Christians. Freedom and access to knowledge is not something to be taken for granted. Being aware of the sufferings and struggles of people in other cultures allows us to both help them and use the insight to improve our own communities.