Dear Gen-Z, show some empathy

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, many American teenagers have shown little awareness of the situation’s severity. Some teens are even using the current events to create jokes on social media, which is the exact opposite of what we need to be doing at a time like this.


Cartoon by Maura Evans

As the Russian-Ukraine conflict developes overseas, U.S. teens are sitting in a comfortable bubble, shielded from the realities of war.
It is time that we acknowledge our privilege in this situation and channel some energy into educating ourselves and practicing more empathy.
Unfortunately, we have seen our peers make many tone deaf, ignorant jokes on social media.
There is nothing funny about what has been happening since February 24, when Russia invaded Ukraine.
This is a big deal.
Innocent people’s lives have been turned upside down all across both Ukraine and Russia.
People are dying, families are being torn apart and cities are being destroyed.
Even more unbelievable is that now, in the age of social media and widespread technology, we have gotten access to many of the first-hand accounts of this violence.
We are seeing this war unfold in front of our eyes, coming from the people at ground zero. And yet, it seems that our generation, Generation Z, is not taking this situation seriously.
As the war between Russia and Ukraine progresses, it is imperative that now, more than ever, we keep up to date on any news released and stop to truly digest the cries for help from the civilians being affected by this.
This is something that our generation needs to work on. The violence and destruction being displayed is not an opportunity to make a distasteful joke for some cheap views on a social media platform.
A common theme amongst our generation is to address serious matters with humor.
Many times, this can be a useful coping mechanism for dealing with our own, personal struggles.
However, this is not one of those times.The difference in this situation is that this is not our trauma.
We cannot choose how the people of these countries should be reacting and, because of that, we need to focus on maintaining the severity of this situation and treat the trauma of these people with care and respect.
We have a responsibility as outsiders to stay informed and have empathy.
Ukrainian citizens are struggling day-to-day in shelters, hoping not to be bombed.
Just recently on March 16, The Drama Theater in Mariupol was bombed while hundreds of people were taking shelter inside.
By living in the U.S. and being sheltered from the violence and terror overseas, it is easy to fall into complete apathy in regards to Ukraine.
However, it is important that we do all that we can to avoid this.
The first step to increase awareness of the situation is to become educated.
As a newspaper committed to informing our student body, we will be maintaining an up-to-date timeline of the conflict on our website.
The current version of this timeline can be found on this issue’s front page. We will be updating this as more information comes to light.
It’s time for our generation to engage in news and research of current events.
Instead of waiting around and hearing bits and pieces of the current state from other people, do some valuable research.
The government is even trying to make this news more accessible to our generation, by debriefing popular content creators that publish TikToks and YouTube videos on current events.
On March 10, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki held a Zoom meeting with 30 TikTok users and social media influencers who have been covering the invasion.
According to CNN, the goal of the meeting centered on the fact that many young people receive their news from TikTok or other social media platforms.
The Biden administration is seeking to reach the “highly influential group and reach a broader and younger audience,” according to CNN.
This Zoom meeting consisted of information about the situation in Ukraine for influencers to better understand, and to then share on their platforms. However, young people should be aware that the care and attention put into this decision is a privelage within itself.
At this point, so many people are providing us with the resources to be informed and educated.
It’s time that we take on the responsibility to put those resources to use.