What Teenagers Are Learning From Online

It looks like a bunch of seniors sitting around in a cafeteria with their laptops all day: Online learning is one of the fastest growing areas of education.

What Teenagers Are Learning From Online

When did it all begin?

A society steeped in technology recently organized its first Teen Deplorables Convention. For those who don’t know (and perhaps for those who have many more demands on their brain cells than their perceptions of young teens’ online browsing), “deplorables” refers to some of Donald Trump’s core supporters, per the candidate’s campaign positioning. Fortunately, the younger online consumers who attended the convention suggested how they would reach their political objectives using a plethora of tactics, some of which differ from the proverbial playing field of politics.

Perhaps the most significant takeaway is that Republican voters, young and old, still feel the need to know, be educated, and understand how to engage in effective civic activism. Here’s how to do it.

From Snopes, via Curious Datavision:

“Republicans recognized in recent years that young people, far from being ignorant of the truth and material as a result of early media exposure, are actually quite educated regarding the factual aspects of current affairs. Yet young Republicans felt that there was a sort of blind spot on their side of the political divide in the way that information was presented by the media, both from conservative commentators and influential government organizations.”

Here’s how to know that you’re in contact with citizens who, while more casual when it comes to news coverage, are interested in new ideas and issues.

Much like the nominee himself, Trump understands that for many, Internet technology is a place for virtually unfettered access. However, while he tends to favor the bypassing of mainstream media outlets, Trump misses the futility of “your enemy is not your enemy” approach.

To this extent, Trump didn’t fully understand social media’s potential until years later, when he felt the need to respond to Hillary Clinton’s infamous (and largely effective) video where she vowed to care “for you as though you were my family.” The rest is history.

What good is it to blame the news sources you used on Facebook?

Believe it or not, while large entities still drive our social media media use, there are still many young people who learn the news (and its most lurid revelations) through forums and websites that are harder to ignore. From recipe sites that help them prepare healthy meals to education sites that provide content that relates to topics that might be more learned about in an online classroom, today’s young adults have a great deal to learn about sites such as Medium, MediumX, Flipboard, Zite, The Daily Burn, Textstorm, TutorTube, Penguin Cove, Forum, and an impressive number of other platforms.

How many times have you heard someone say, “It’s hard to find opinions these days…I started using Twitter!” Really? Let me ask you this: how many of you regularly consume information on social media and are exploring options you’ve never seen before? How many of you have actually spoken to a journalist (professional or student) to learn the ins and outs of the news before a picture or video was available? These young people are learning the way the news used to be, and the regular reader has no idea how far they’ve come.

Whether you support another political candidate or not, the debate over political issues has never been as relevant as it is now. Younger voters are actively engaged in issues of global importance. Many will have benefited from the information they’ve gleaned through the mediums that make up the daily online news.

When will more be done to make it easier to connect with your inner city neighbors and raise your neighbor’s children?

This question of neighbor connection comes with more than a quote from Chanukah. As the results from the Brexit vote pointed out, youth and relationship literacy varies widely by nationality, race, class, and generation. If you think you have the answers to these big questions in your head, ask them again. While those who post under the label Millennial believe they have things figured out in the world, chances are you’re taking a measured approach to socioeconomic issues.

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