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U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

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There is a lot going in the world, but we can change how we interact with it

Digital+Editor+Taariq+Ahmed+asserts+that+staying+informed+and+educating+oneself+on+current+events+is+crucial+to+being+a+successful+citizen+of+the+world%3B+and+we+can+do+it+while+preserving+our+mental+health.+
Midway Staff
Digital Editor Taariq Ahmed asserts that staying informed and educating oneself on current events is crucial to being a successful citizen of the world; and we can do it while preserving our mental health.

The raging Israel-Hamas war. The ongoing Russian war in Ukraine. Mass shootings across the United States. Traumatic and disturbing news is coming at us left and right online, and there is not a comforting way to say it: The world is filled with bad news right now. 

However, that does not mean your world must reflect the chaos, trauma and constant state of panic you see on the screen. Students should strive to stay informed about current events in a way that is healthy for themselves, which is easier said than done.

Staying informed and educating oneself on current events is crucial to being a successful citizen of the world. That said, kids’ stress and anxiety levels are extremely high, and the high school students cannot afford more worry, especially at U-High. So what do we do? 

Not being overwhelmed by current events, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, used to be a challenge for me; I had to teach myself that balance is key. By using appropriate sources, time management and self-expression, students can be aware of what’s happening in their community or around the world while keeping their mental health in check. This ensures our consumption of news is sustainable for ourselves.

First of all, we should be learning about current events through credible, reliable forms of journalism rather than the addictive, short-video format of social media news. This often contains rampant misinformation and gives viewers inflammatory content that only suffocates them in confusion. And while there are credible news sources on social media, large numbers of people — 43% of TikTok users — consistently get their news from social media.

Setting a reasonable time limit for news intake is important, too. In a CNBC report, trauma expert Dana Rose Garfin said roughly 20 to 30 minutes per day is healthy.

The time of day when you read or watch news is also significant. Even checking your phone for that final news update before bed can be harmful. According to Health Digest, this can deter the sense of relaxation one needs as they prepare to wind down for bed.

Lastly, instead of sparring in group chats and comment sections, teenagers should find people in their life — family, friends, neighbors, teachers — who they feel comfortable meaningfully discussing current events with. Talking to real people can make a difference.

Finding ways to learn about and process current events in a way that does not cause you overwhelming stress or anxiety can make it easier to come to terms with them. There is a lot going in the world, but we can change how we interact with it.

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About the Contributor
Taariq Ahmed
Taariq Ahmed, Digital Editor
Taariq Ahmed is a member of the Class of 2025 and serves as the digital editor. He joined the Midway as a sophomore after moving from St. Louis, where he completed Introduction to Journalism at his previous school in ninth grade. Taariq is a part of his school's Young Men of Color group and Being Racially Aware and Valuing Ethnicity conference board. Outside of school, Taariq enjoys reading the news, listening to music, playing soccer and spending time with family and friends.

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    SomeshDec 7, 2023 at 2:06 pm

    This is so real! Thank you for being inspirational Taariq.

    Reply