Teens “Stay Woke”

Just when reading the news became cool

Growing up most kids are the ones to complain when their parents switch from Nickelodeon to NBC. But times have changed and studies have shown that today’s millennials are more likely to watch the news than their elders.

Today’s slang term, “woke”–defined by urban dictionary as ‘being aware of what’s going on a community”–is often used by teenagers to highlight social issues, and now many can see just why.

According to the Pew Research Center, today’s teens consume their daily readings of news 42% more than adults, who’ve only kept up with 32% of the time.

Age Survey on Reading News
Pew Research Center Survey
Age Survey on Reading News

The study continued to reveal that 52% of 50-64 year olds and 58% of those over 65 more than likely find their daily news through their TV instead of print sources. That percentage is high because today’s smartphones give teens the upper hand, using sites like Twitter to keep up with the current events.

Kathy Dinh, a sophomore at Apple Valley High School, says, “For me, I just find news on social media and read it from there. Especially for us teenagers nowadays we’re pretty much stuck onto it.”

While teenagers are reading more news, it’s unclear if they interested in the content they are presented with.  According to the American Press Institute, “While younger people may be slightly less attentive to news on a daily basis, they are more attentive to breaking news; the youngest adults are more than twice as likely to follow up in-depth on breaking news as they are to report going in-depth in the last week on any news story”.

A lot of social networking sites use hashtags when major events have occurred around the world, so it’s no surprise they get the most attention from the youth.

FILE - This Friday, Oct. 18, 2013, file photo, shows a Twitter app on an iPhone screen in New York. British lawmakers on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016 demanded that social media companies do more to police users who promote extremism, arguing that companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter are “consciously failing’’ to stop radicalization online.
(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Since a lot of events are now posted online, it’s easier to access them right away on smartphones rather than going out the way to buy a paper print–just like our very own newspaper at AVHS, The Talon.

Like Kathy Dinh said, “The news helps show me what’s going on right now and it’s great to see and compare to be aware.”

Nowadays, ‘woke’ is a compliment. It’s like 2016’s way of saying “Hey, you’re really smart.” But being ‘woke’ goes far beyond intelligence. Popular young celebrities like Zendaya try to give teens the extra push to be more socially conscious about what’s happening in the world by reading the news and staying in school.

Zendaya attends "To the Rescue: Saving Animal Lives" Gala and Fundraiser held at Paramount Pictures Studio on Saturday, May 7, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
Zendaya attends “To the Rescue: Saving Animal Lives” Gala.

So, it comes as no surprise that the numbers are so high in teen reading and so low in high school dropouts. The U.S. Department of Education shows that the dropout rate has fallen 5.6% since 1990. Kids, today, find value in their education, in and out of the classroom.