A Teen’s Guide to Staying Politically Informed

A Teen's Guide to Staying Politically Informed

Abby Bozek

In today’s day and age it’s easy to be informed at the touch of a button. Because of that, it’s also easy to ignore everything. Yet due to the fact that it’s an election year, there’s a seat to fill, there’s a global pandemic, and more it’s a good idea to stay up to date with what’s happening. So where should you be getting your news? Instagram, snapchat? Please please please, no. Follow my guide, get informed and if you can, register to vote. 



No More Snapchat News


Snapchat is a place to talk to your friends, post on your private, watch cake videos, and read stupid stories about celebrities. In no world should Snapchat be your main source of information. I understand, it’s easy to click through the slides, there are so many pictures, and it takes under five minutes. But how credible is that news? Are you really learning anything? Not really. Keep Snapchat for snaps, and leave the news for the news. 


Look at Your Apple News App 

Just as easily as clicking on Snapchat you can click on the Apple News app. I bet it’s already in your phone and you just haven’t noticed because it’s one of those pre downloaded apps like garage band. But unlike garage band, this app isn’t useless. I love this app for reading my news. It culminates all of the major news media, and yes that includes Buzzfeed (is that really news though?), and allows you to pick your preferred topic of reading. Then, it will recommend you a ton of articles on all those topics. You can search a subject and favorite it, and save articles for later. This app alone is my all time favorite. 


Listen to the News


When I say “listen to the news”, I don’t mean sit in front of your tv for three hours staring at a news anchor talk about the same boring thing. Turning the news on in the background while you are doing something, like homework, can be a helpful way to digest the news and normalize the educational content. Even if it’s just for five or ten minutes, turning on your favorite news channel can thoroughly help you with staying up to date. 


Listen to More than One Station

With listening and reading the news, it’s important to get your information from more than one source. As well as this, it’s important to hear more than one side. I understand, if you’re politically active it is extremely difficult to listen to the other side. But the point isn’t to listen and agree with everything they’re saying, it’s to understand it. If you don’t understand every side’s perspective on a matter you are never going to be able to have a real educational conversation. This is coming from someone who is aggressively to the left, but I still attempt to stay non-partisan and understand all sides arguments on a specific matter. With this, you will also be able to understand the concept of bias. Bias within differing news stations is very prominent, and the more you listen to objecting news stations the more you will be able to understand this concept. 


Pay Attention to Major Events 

It’s important to remember that there are times when you can lighten up on your news intake, but with that there are also times when it is crucial to pay attention. Whenever a major event occurs, like a Presidential Debate, the RNC, or the DNC, make sure to tone in on these events. Whether this means watching it, reading about it, or even just watching highlights, it’s important to note the top things that occur in events that will have a major impact on future events which you will listen to as well. 


It Doesn’t All Have to be Serious


Though from this article it seems like staying informed is no fun, it can be quite the opposite. There are so many examples of ways to digest some news in a fun, comical way. One of these examples is John Oliver. His witty take on specific events which he covers once a week offers a lighthearted approach to serious events. You can find him on HBO, or any of his episodes are all on Youtube. This is something that I would seriously suggest. 



Even though it seems like staying politically active and informed is no fun and a waste of time, it’s quite the opposite. By staying informed you are able to stake your opinion, be a voice of the future, educate someone else, and maybe even make a change in the world some day. For the majority of us it’s only a few years until we are able to vote, and being able to do this while being able to make an informed decision on who to vote for is a constitutional right which should not be taken for granted. That being said, pick up your phone, put in some airpods, and start listening to the news.