By Lex Cornell
In the recent senior town hall our principal, Marlene Blocker, announced, “The students of East High School are going to start a new system with the phones after our spring break. The system is called the Yondr. This system works by making the students responsible for their phones,” instead of the staff and teachers having to take them and lock them up during the morning scans, by putting your phone into a pouch with a magnet lock. The biggest question that comes to mind with this change is, are the students going to be able to handle having their phones on their person? There are not many opinions on this matter. Most of the teachers are excited about the change as many of them believe that teachers collecting phones are very labor-intensive for them. They also believe that collecting the students' phones is too stressful and time-consuming to do every day.
This change also isn’t just for the upperclassmen, but for the lower school students as well. This means that our 6-8th grades will have to do this change as well as the 9-12th graders. During the pandemic, many students used their phones daily, leading to a strong connection/addiction to their phones. This was also was when the lower school scholars didn’t gain as much social-emotional control as they would have during the actual school year. This will make it a lot harder on them because they will feel the constant urge to look at their phones or even to feel fake notifications from their phone due to the withdrawal they will experience. By taking the phones from the students in the mornings and locking them up, you take away the urge and anxiety that goes with having your phone on your person. This urge might drive students to look for a way to open the pouch. Ms. Blocker has also stated, “When the students have their phones on their person, the student will be responsible for the phones and there are times in our lives that you don't need your phone.” Ms. Blocker is hopeful that with the Yondr system students will be more responsible with their phones and will learn at what point it is ok to use them.
By Ramir Wearen
Most people don't know how to prepare for life after high school until it’s too late. Typically high school could be the most challenging period of time in someone's life. Why, you ask? Freshman year, you’re coming straight out of middle school - Everything counts, No more time for drama and if you’re in fights and conflict you jeopardize how successful you’ll be in the following year and if you do poorly that could affect your academic placement in the following years.
Sophomore year, the year where you realize after summer break who are your “friends” who you should surround yourself with. In this period, in my experience, is when you discover the true meaning of having “self- identity.” You're now in your second year of high school and no longer in the “newbie” category. This period really tests your leadership skills. Academically, I call sophomore year the “safe zone.” If you had a lot of mistakes and hiccups in you freshman year, this year will be the time to restore and redeem where you will be placed in the years following. You should work harder, build a stronger work ethic, improve studying habits and build relationships with people who can be beneficial to you in the long run. Word of advice: If you go to a much smaller school and over the years you’ll have the same teachers make sure you build a good reputation for yourself - don’t be the one everyone dislikes.
Finally, “The calm before the Storm” aka Junior Year. In this year most people typically have more freedom in their personal life and school life but just like freshman year you have to work for the future also known as “senior year.” In this period I think it would be important to plan for after high school. Some may say it’s a tad bit too early but personally I don't think so and trust me I’m speaking from experience! Start to plan for higher studies during your junior year. Besides testing this year, it’ll be perfect for planning even during the summer so once you get into your senior year you’ll be ten steps ahead. I recommend joining college prep programs, summer academic programs, beginning college search, and beginning to weigh out your interest for major purposes if you’re planning to go to college.
Lastly, senior year…Well I’m in my senior year so before I speak too soon I will end this article off here and keep you posted. Good luck!
Check out EducationPlanner.org to prepare middle school and high school students for life beyond high school. For studying and opportunities to get ahead I recommend Khan Academy, College Board, Quizlet and Brainly.
By Aryana St. Marthe
You are growing up in a world where technology is taking over everything, and you have to learn how to navigate it the right way. You are going to see a lot of things and you have to figure out if it’s true or not. One thing you have to know is what fake news and misinformation is and how to detect it. Fake news and misinformation are kind of the same thing; they both basically mean the fake or untrue version of something. A way you can detect fake news is considering the source. According to the Guide to Detecting Fake News article, it states that parents and teachers can help children figure out if something is true or not. Most of the time children look at social media for news and that can easily be the wrong information, so a way we can help is teaching them to dig deeper and look at the source so they can know where it's coming from. Another way you can detect fake news is knowing the difference between opinion and fact. The article states that, “Statements like, ‘the general consensus is’ and ‘Most people believe’ have no place in a news article. A professional journalist knows to back up such statements with facts.” This shows that putting these words in news articles can easily be mistaken as facts. This is why children need to be taught at a young age what the difference is between opinion and fact. The article says that there are many fun activities children can do so they can know the difference without it being “boring.”
Fake news and misinformation can be a dangerous thing because things can be said about someone and someone can try to do something about it. For example, in the ‘How misinformation spreads on social media’ article there was an attack in Toronto and the actual description of the attacker was white but, a woman named Natasha Fatah did a little experiment on Twitter to see how fast misinformation can spread. She made two different posts describing the attacker in Toronto. One post said an eyewitness said they saw a white male. The second post said that the attacker was angry and Middle Eastern. You can imagine which one did better on like, reposts, and shares. This shows that misinformation can be harmful because people having biases about different races can cause some trouble and someone is going to believe they need to do something about this person that doesn't exist.
There are two factors that go into something going viral, the human side and the technical side. Like I said the bias is an important role in something going viral because we’re more likely to “connect” with content that goes with our beliefs and grievances. This goes with the technical side because after a good amount of people have seen it, liked it, retweeted it, and favorited it then in the Twitter algorithm it will make it for more people to see it. This whole cycle put together can be the worst thing because just like that misinformation is all around and people are actually believing it. According to the article, “How misinformation spreads on social media” it states, “At its worst, this cycle can turn social media into a kind of confirmation bias machine, one perfectly tailored for the spread of misinformation.” This explains exactly what I said that this whole cycle can easily spread something untrue or false news. Something can be done to stop it, like Twitter promoting police and government accounts so that accurate information can be said so everyone will most likely believe it because it's from the right source.
Some other news that can be mistaken as real that you should also watch out for is satirical news or satire news. Satire news is literary that involves a balance of criticism and humor. Sometimes when people make satirical news it can seem very true, but it's not. Satire news is mostly meant to be funny not to be taken seriously. Although satirical news can be sarcastic it is also something you have to be careful of because some people begin to take it too far and make up stories that seem very real and people actually believe them. And that can be dangerous for some people. Satire news can also be mistaken for fake news because fake news is meant for people to believe it and try to do something about it. Satire news is something that is meant for fun, something that's sarcastic or something that doesn’t really matter. That's why no matter what you are reading you should always check the background to see if it's true or not.
To help you in the future I will say to look and read everything very carefully because you never know if someone is lying to you or not. Always check the background of every news article or post that you see on social media because social media is the main spot where fake news is born. To conclude, fake news is everywhere and you have to be careful and look out for it because you don't want to read something and be so angry about it just to find out it's not even true. Use all the information I gave in this letter to go along with you in life because there is going to be a lot of fake news and it's going to be your job to figure out the truth.
By Greg Tucker
As a journalism student, I am well aware of the internet and the amount of information that can be gathered using the very accessible tool; I am also aware of the amount of misinformation that can be gathered using the internet.
What is misinformation? Also known as fake news, misinformation is made-up of inaccurate facts that are usually intended to gear readers/viewers away from what is actually going on. You can detect it by viewing multiple sources of information or simply doing research on the source you choose to get your information from. Ask yourself: Are they credible? Have they misinformed people in the past? Who even is this person? These questions are a few that we as journalists have to ask ourselves in order to give the public the closest thing to the truth.
If you are on the internet, more than likely you have come across “bad” news on the internet. Maybe you heard news that your favorite artists has died, a terrorist attacked people in a public place or that a country has started to invade another. This news often goes viral because it causes a sense of panic/danger for the public, however, we must fact check what we see in order to verify if it is true and as severe as the media made it out to be. This allows for us to alleviate our panic by either confirming or denying if it is necessary. We can also be conscious about what we choose to share. Instead of choosing to share the story about a local grocery store robbery, opt to share the story about a city kid who runs a successful small business out of his home.
Caleb, have you ever read an article or watched the news and afterwards found yourself being completely swayed to believe that it was true? Did you later find that there was more to the story? We are often manipulated by the media and how they choose to frame a story. This is what we call media bias which has many forms. The media can leave out certain information that can go against the narrative they want you to believe. Example: a major celeb gossip show says that an actress is on “drugs” without mentioning that they are prescribed medications in order to imply or outright state that the actress has a drug problem. This is a very dangerous tactic that many media outlets use. In order to see whether or not the media has some sort of bias, you can always check in with people who actually know the history of the person such as friends, fans, family as they may have more of the actual information. You can then piece together your story using details from people on opposing sides of the spectrum and see if any of the details match/add up.
Are you aware of satirical news? This form of news tends to be for purposes of humor, sarcasm or criticism. We should be careful as it should not be taken seriously; sometimes satirical news can be misinterpreted as what is actually happening. Just like fake news, it may have misinformation as situations can be exaggerated for comedic purposes.
Caleb, the best advice that I can give you is to always ask questions. Always read an article as if you´re Sherlock Holmes and see what sticks out about it. If something odd stands out, take it back to the lab and analyze it. Always use a variety of resources to verify or refute claims that you question. Do your research!
By Cameron Northan
To whomever scholar may read this letter, I’ve got some advice for you about how you should navigate in this vast world of information. This world has such a pivotal role in society as a way for us to get information, but not everything is true, let me help you be able to tell what's true and what's false.
“Fake News” is a term to describe a story that is false, with no viable evidence to support it. Some fake news is propaganda designed to intentionally mislead the reader. Misinformation is false or inaccurate information that is accidentally spread, the intent is not to deceive. There are plenty of ways of detecting fake news, some of which are checking the source, examining the evidence, and checking that it “sounds right.” Fake news and misinformation are harmful because many people believe them, it can be harmful to your health, and it can make it hard to see the truth.
Bad news goes viral much more than good because negativity is more impactful positivity, and news companies tend to publish more negative information because it captures the attention of views more than positive information does, bettering their view ratings.
We are vulnerable to manipulation by 6 different biases:
Some ways I think we can prevent ourselves from being manipulated is by looking for websites, newspapers, stories, etc. that don’t have any bias opinions, searching for multiple sources when reading about a story make sure you’re getting both sides, and pay attention to the way stories or articles are formatted to recognize a type of bias.
You should be careful when reading a satirical article because satirical articles do not have to true, satire is a literary form that involves a balance of criticism and humor. It’s tricky when navigating through satirical articles because some people use satire when making true statements and other use it when make false statements, this often confuses people and makes it hard to tell what’s true and what's false.
All and all, when navigating the internet, don’t believe everything you see at first sight. If you want to share something that you are unsure is true or not, either check to make sure it is true, or do not share it at all. Look out for patterns that would align with the different biases I listed above. Overall, just make sure you are being safe when looking for information, make sure it’s from a trusted source, that it is fair to both sides of the argument, and that you double check with other sources to check its viability.
By Ella French
Now that I am a senior in high school, I wish that I had known certain information about the internet, media, and social media, that I want to share with you. I first wanted to touch on fake news and misinformation. Fake news and misinformation are very common in our world today and it will be very good to teach you how to tell if something is false news and how to avoid it. One key way to tell if the news being given is fake is by detecting the source of the news. Some examples of credible news sources that will not have fake news include The New York Times, The Washington Post, BBC, The New Yorker, and more. Another way to tell if the news is fake is through what sources are mentioned within the news article itself. If the sources tied to the evidence are unreliable, the information within the article is as well. Fake news is very harmful because it can cause huge misunderstandings on very important topics, can shade people from seeing the truth, be harmful to your health and cause a mass belief in something that has no truth to it. According to an article we read in class from Inc.com, you can help avoid fake news by, “When your children cite information they see online, ask them to examine the source of that information, even if it means tracing it back. Help them learn the difference between a legitimate source and one that is more questionable. As they get older, walk your children through verifying sources of research studies and ensuring the sample size is large enough for the information to be valid.” With the use of these methods, you will be able to successfully detect and avoid fake news.
Another topic that I wanted to give you advice on is the fact that negative and “bad” news spreads way more than positive and “good news.” Negative news spreads more than positive news because the more negative the news is, the more emotions come out of it, causing more shares and publicity towards it. More negative news builds more emotions that cause it to become a bigger story. According to an article from class to avoid the support of spreading negative news and misinformation, “Either it can hire an editorial team to track and remove blatant misinformation from trending searches, or it can introduce a new reporting feature for users to flag misinformation as they come across it.” When you don't spread the misinformation or negative news, you can help cause it to go away.
Each and every day we are manipulated by bias in the media. Bias in the media can cause our perspectives and opinions to be lost due to how frequently bias is shown. One example of bias is biased by omission which causes us to only see one side of a story and try to manipulate us into only believing that one side is right. According to an article from Inc.com, “Overall, media outlets should not be one-sided in reporting on any issue. They should always try to cover several points of view around an issue. If one side refuses to participate, the outlet should mention that it at least attempted to get a statement. “Which shows this form of bias is commonly used. Another form of bias called a selection of sources causes us to only get sources from a specific viewpoint not showing us both opinions on a topic. According to the Social Dilemma can avoid being manipulated by social media, “Another great method to avoid social media manipulation is to avoid clicking on ads whenever possible. “ Avoiding clicking ads will prevent you from being manipulated into buying something that you do not want. Also, “When you like and share content that is ethical, tolerant and generally good spirited, you influence social media to value these things more as well.” To avoid manipulation, don't feed into the spread.
In conclusion, when it comes to avoiding manipulation, biased news, and fake news on social media, you can do 3 things. Avoid spreading and sharing false or negative news, always check the source, and don't fall into the trap of manipulation. I wish you the best on your social media journey!