OPINION: Our generation has become numb to the news

Since the beginning of social media, we have had easy access to check what is happening in the world around us in a matter of seconds. With social media platforms that alert us with news stories in an instant, such as Twitter, we have become so used to the idea of horrific events occurring around the world daily. Although we have not stopped caring about these issues, we have become so desensitized to how awful these events truly are.

Whether it’s school shootings, terrorism or even environmental issues, we as a generation have become so accustomed to the fact that “it won’t happen to us.” We have forgotten how to be human, but that isn’t our fault. With the ability to read stories about these traumatizing occurrences at any time, it has become our new “normal.” 

The fact that we are so numb to the news has greatly altered the way we take action on these issues. When certain topics first arose, especially school shootings, we took action passionately. Now, we are so accustomed to the fact that these problems are occurring that we do not take much of a stance anymore. What used to be unthinkable has transformed into the ordinary. Yes, speaking up is a massive part of recognizing the issues. Reposting on Instagram and other social media platforms is the best way to spread awareness nowadays. But reposting a 24-hour story can only go so far. In order to recognize what is so awful about these events, we need to put ourselves in the victims’ shoes. However, it is extremely difficult to do so because of the desensitization due to social media. Seeing these horrific headlines break the news day after day has caused our generation to become entirely numb to what is happening around us; so much so that we cannot even imagine any of it happening to us. 

Take COVID-19 as an example. After the first year of the pandemic, it basically became second nature to us that something new about the virus would take over the news. Whether it was a new variant, a new mandate or practically anything relating to the virus, we just tuned it all out at one point. A new variant was not a surprise to us, it was just another headline we expected to read. It’s not that we chose to ignore what was happening, we just became so used to the fact that this was our new way of life that nothing truly shocks us anymore. 

Based on my own observations, school shootings have become a topic that people have stopped caring about as much as they used to. When Sandy Hook and the Parkland Shooting tragically occurred, people marched to eliminate guns and hope for stricter laws. That passion and drive to make a change seem to have dissolved. We are only three months into 2022 and there have already been 14 school shootings that have taken place. However, I have not heard about any of these shootings. I, an average Gen-Z teen, have become so desensitized to traumatic global events that I am not even surprised by this statistic anymore. 

In reality, this truly is just our new normal. Although it’s extremely depressing to say, we are so accustomed to these topics being brought up on a daily basis that it’s just a part of life now.