How does social media affect the way people view COVID-19?

By Ella Sutherland

Fear is a big component of COVID and social media. There is a lot of different, wrong, exaggerated, and misleading information on social media apps.

The main social media apps that became a source of that information were Twitter and TikTok. Both of the apps allow anyone to post anything on them, and a lot of the information is false. On TikTok you can make short videos, and it is mostly Gen Z. On Twitter you can make short messages called “tweets”.

Before COVID was super well known there were a lot of accusations about what COVID really was. When there was wrong information out there, it scared a lot of people, and the reason for that was that we didn’t have a lot of information from real scientists.

Social media also helped influence people in different ways on how to handle the coronavirus. Lots of people looked to popular influencers on how to handle the whole situation. Many influencers were not doing a good job of staying safe and even with them knowing that they have a big fan base that looks to them for guidance, they didn’t really seem to care. They were still going to parties and going out to eat at busy restaurants, while some of them still weren’t wearing masks.

When the COVID vaccine came out I’m guessing many of them got it, but they didn’t make that clear. However, there were a few influencers that were promoting the vaccine and making it crystal clear that they were all for it and had gotten it. Many celebrities were promoting and talking about the vaccines and masks a lot more than influencers were, which definitely increased the amount of people getting vaccines and wearing their masks. Many politicians also joined celebrities in spreading the word about masks and vaccines.

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Britney Spears conservatorship

By: Musab Mohamud

In 2008, following Britney Spears’ series of public meltdowns she was placed in the care of her father through a conservatorship. Her father, Jamie, gained control of her estate, assets, and business deals. Jamie Spears ran nearly every aspect of his daughter’s life and personal assets through 2019. Britney hasn’t legally been her own person for twelve years.

Her fan base has long been concerned for her well-being. Many have participated in protests, social media movements, and have expressed their feelings about her conservatorship online. One fan illustrates fan concern through this quote, “I think it was so wrong for her father to take advantage of the conservatorship, for years she was able bodied and able minded enough to take care of herself and make her own decisions. I’m glad to finally see her free of him #freebritney.” 

Her family still exhibits concern for her, with her sister Jamie Lynn being quoted as saying, “If you deal with mental illness or care for someone dealing with mental illness, then you know how important it is to respect the situation with privacy for the person, and the family trying to protect their loved ones, no matter how it may appear to the public, and as the public we must learn to do the same.” In a rant about ‘People Magazine’ she expresses her love for her sister and shows her disdain for the tabloid that has profited off of her sister’s name for decades. 

Britney Spears lived her life in the spotlight for years as the “princess of pop”, being pestered by tabloids, paparazzi, and locked out of her own life by her father. She has emerged as a talented and strong woman. To this day, Britney seeks justice, she is not content with her freedom from conservatorship. Supported by her fans she seeks to have all parties involved in her decade long ordeal prosecuted.

Teens and reading

By: Marcus Lund

How long has it been since you’ve wanted to read a book? Not for English class, but for fun? For some kids, it’s been a while.

Firstly, let’s look at the numbers. According to an NAEP survey, 13 year olds who read 30 minutes or more every night, not for homework, dropped 4% from 2017 to 2019. The number officially dropped under 50%. For high schoolers, the numbers are even more daunting. Only 20% of kids report reading a newspaper, magazine, or a book daily, whereas 80% of them reported going on some sort of social media.

This is a problem. With declining numbers in daily reading, a predictable result is becoming more and more obvious: kids are getting worse at it. With reading lessening, so are reading scores. This is a nationwide phenomenon, and a disappointment to many parents. Experts say that reading, even if it’s a book like ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ or ‘Captain Underpants’, is incredibly vital to teenage brain development.

Why are teens reading less? The problem resides in something vital to teenage existence: our phones. Teens average 9 hours of entertainment media use, and pre-teens average 6. This time takes away from less passive entertainment, like reading. But I find it hard to blame the average teenager. I personally enjoy some forms of social media and talking to my friends more than I do reading a book, and this is a nationwide opinion that’s widely agreed upon.

Screens also affect the brain more negatively than reading, with frequent screen use resulting in poorer literacy skills and less ability to use expressive language. Conversely, teens who read more scored higher on cognitive tests.

Reading is good for you, which probably isn’t a surprise. What is a surprise is the amount that teens are skipping out on it. Personally, I know that I’m going to start reading more. Will you?

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