By Kayla Lemay
When you’re a kid, all you want to do is be just like your favorite adult. Whether that was your mom, dad, grandpa, aunt, or someone else, you did your best to emulate them.
You did your best to copy how they dress, their facial expressions, and even what they say. You also took their word as truth – no matter what. That alone is a huge reason why things like racism has carried on for so long – we just take the words of others as truth.
With the age of the internet we currently live in, it’s time to change that. It’s time to grow up. And, most of all, it’s time to form your own, educated opinions.
When you interact with others on the internet, arguments are likely to break out every now and again. Most often, it will fall under the political spectrum, so we’ll start there.
Let’s enter a hypothetical situation: your best friend is a Republican, while you are a Democrat. You update your status on Facebook, saying “Vote so-and-so 2014! She’s all for supporting students.”
Your Republican friend comments, saying “No way, she did X to show that she’s lying. She doesn’t support education at all.”
Now, will you take what they say for granted? Will you assume that your friend is right?
Well, you shouldn’t. Instead, you should ask where they got their information. And if they say “I saw/heard it on a commercial” you should call them on their bluff. Mudslinging ads are not the place to get your information.
Instead, use your knowledge of Google to find out the truth. Google her actions in previous positions, and find out what exactly is the truth of the matter. Your friend should do the same.
This sort of opinion-forming should not just be in regards to political beliefs, either. If anything ever seems fishy to you, Google it to find out the truth.
Keep in mind that when you see it on one source, you should not just take their word, either. Make sure you’re reading multiple sources. If different sources say different things, then you know something is up. That could simply be a writer bias, or one of them (or even all of them) has incorrect information.
At that point, it’s up to you to decide what you believe.
Most of all, stop believing everything you’re told, and start questioning it for yourself. As a college student in this century, you have access to a whole wealth of knowledge on the Internet, in addition to databases full of scholarly research via the Maxwell Library website.
Use these resources, and become educated. That way, when someone tries to fact-check you, you’ll have plenty of ammunition to back it up.
Kayla Lemay is the Editor-in-Chief. Follow her on Twitter @klemay123.