Published on Wednesday, April 6, 2011 by Emma Raleigh
In the past, a high school student might go home after school and read a book for fun. Now, it’s common to find American teenagers sitting in front of the television set, mindlessly watching programs with no educational value. Though there are many ways to learn new things about the world around us, the desire to learn in adolescents is almost nonexistent.
Technology has skyrocketed, and teens are usually the first to use, and even become dependent on, the latest and greatest websites and gadgets. Social networking, texting and blogging can often take the focus off schoolwork, or an activity that would better a student intellectually. TV shows that are directed toward teens almost encourage this, because the characters on the shows usually don’t value learning. On certain shows, educated or smart characters are made fun of, which influences the viewers’ attitude towards the educated people in their lives. Nine times out of ten, our peers would rather read their Facebook newsfeed, or watch MTV, than read a news article on the web in their spare time.
Many don’t want to explore and learn new things because school has put a strain on their time and energy. They want a stress-free way to spend their free time, and this usually entails TV, video games or the computer. With all the homework and studying that happens, students are weary of the educational and informative resources left to their disposal.
Reading isn’t seen by most as a fun pastime because it is required for school. Although some school-required books are outdated or sometimes just boring, the genres available are innumerable, and there are books out there that could amuse anyone. For a country with a 99 percent literacy rate, the teenagers of the U.S. don’t appreciate the fact that they can read, and they don’t use their skills to read a book or stay informed about current events.
There are many opportunities to find new information, like newspapers, books and documentaries. The problem is that some kids don’t want to know what’s going on outside of their own lives, and if it doesn’t affect them, they don’t care. As wars are going on and as countries’ governments are changing dramatically, students need to realize that history is being made, and they need to learn about it. With countless websites, and even apps that are dedicated to bringing the latest news to the people, teens don’t recognize that they can stay up to date on pressing issues.
The common perception of learning is that it only happens at school. Because students make this association, they don’t strive to learn in their spare time. If you try to explore your personal interests, by watching or reading about them, you’ll find that you can enjoy learning, both inside and outside of the classroom.