Monday with Ms. Marvel: be informed before you raise awareness


Morgan Kong

In her weekly column, Monday with Ms. Marvel, Wingspan’s Trisha Dasgupta reviews different political issues and relatable topics in everyday life.

Trisha Dasgupta, Staff Reporter

In recent years teenagers have been increasingly utilizing the internet in far more ways than older generations give them credit for; we’ve started social movements, enacted change in our governments, and helped raise millions of dollars for charity. All through the internet.

And while teenage activists like Greta Thunberg and David Hogg have inspired many teenagers, it has also brewed complacency in others. Instead of calling their representatives or educating themselves on the topics they see being tweeted about, some teens are settling for simply “raising awareness.”

Now, while raising awareness is a crucial part of any internet campaign or movement, I’m not sure how much a sophomore in the suburbs of north Texas with 145 followers is helping. 

Social media has given everyone who uses it the misconception that they have obtained some level of celebrity, which in most cases they haven’t. And this phenomenon has convinced too many teenagers that a simple repost of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet about gun control is helping “raise awareness” and subsequently the gun control movement. 

The responsibility of raising awareness on social media should lay in the hands of those who actually have a platform: politicians, journalists, and activists. Our role should then be to do what we can or are willing to do about the matter at hand. If you want to do something and calling your representatives will do that, then that is how you help. If you’re 18 and you can vote, then that is how you help. If protesting a certain company or product will help, then do that! 

I also understand that not every teenager can vote, or has the means to boycott certain companies but with all of the misinformation being spread on social media, sometimes in these cases saying nothing at all does less harm than to actually post about it.

So many fake charity accounts have fooled young high school kids on the internet into thinking that their ‘like’ or ‘repost’ is helping donate a meal to a kid in Yemen, when in reality it’s just a sick person capitalizing off of naive teenagers doing what they think will help. And then these teenagers, in an attempt to “raise awareness,” repost these accounts to their stories where other kids see and then repost, and then the whole cycle continues. All the while, no meals are being donated to Yemen and the owner of the account is receiving thousands of dollars from rising numbers on their post.  

The only way to stop misinformation like this, cause a change in your communities, or help bigger movements, is to be educated. Research and learn about the topics you want to talk about and then make sure that the information you’re acting on or telling other people is accurate. If you start making an effort to become educated on the world issues you hear about on the internet, then you’ll become a well informed citizen and help create change too.