30 October 2012

Too easy to hide from the news

ABM turned to me a little while ago and said, "I guess Hurricane Sandy wasn't as bad as they expected because I haven't heard any followup." I gently corrected his assumption. I couldn't be too tough on him. Frankly, if I hadn't been taking regular breaks from my college coursework to play games on Facebook yesterday, I wouldn't have known about the storm at all.

When I was a kid, there were only a few TV channels, so news of a natural disaster like this would have been tough to avoid. Even if I had turned the TV off and didn't watch the news myself, all the adults would have been talking about it. Practically every house took a paper back then and this would have been front page news. The aftermath of the storm would have been the main story at the top-of-the-hour news break on every radio station.

As much as I love technology and the abundance of entertainment choices, ABM's comment is an example of one of the disadvantages of our information age. It is all too easy to be in your own bubble now. We can get our music and movies and TV shows without ever having to see or hear a commercial or a news report. I shouldn't admit this, but several years ago I missed the entire presidential election cycle and it was six months before I realized that George W. Bush was our president. After that, I've tried to check in with the world at large every so often to make sure that I'm not missing anything.

I'm old enough to know that there is a problem, but what about my kids? They don't know what life was like before DVRs, the internet, and mp3 players. They have always had the option to surround themselves with only their favorite media. I wonder if they realize that there are certain world events you should pay attention to, even if they aren't in your backyard.
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