Written by Libby Ye of Inkling for UWCSEA MUN.
As of 2019, 71% of teens use more than one social media site. Everywhere we go, people are either dm’ing on Instagram, snapping on Snapchat, or watching videos on YouTube. Thus, social media is arguably one of the most significant and transformative forms of invention within the past two decades. With more than 2.89 billion active users in the world, social media wields more influence now than ever.
So why are some people so hesitant on exploiting this platform to educate the public on important issues like promoting long term storage of nuclear waste?
In the Special Political Political and Decolonization Committee at MUN@UWCSEA 2019, the delegate of the United States of America recommends all member nations to “educate the public on the positive impact of long term nuclear waste storage through the creation of social media platforms.”
However, contrary to their beliefs, the delegate of DPRK, North Korea, advocates to strike the clause, claiming social media platforms are “often exploited by hackers and criminals to spread propaganda and fake news.” The delegate argues that online seminars and the production of posters are much more effective and reliable.
By attempting to educate the public on a sensitive topic like nuclear waste, the malleable social media may backfire, instilling fear and panic amongst them should the facts be manipulated. In addition, the delegate of North Korea claims that poor countries that are impacted the most by unsustainable disposal of nuclear waste often have no access to the internet, let alone social media.
However, other countries soon rebutted that unlike other platforms, social media is able to reach the younger demographic of people, who constitute a great proportion of our society. As technological advances plague our world, less and less people are willing to attend seminars and read newspapers. Instead, most are opting for social media and online websites for exposure to global issues.
The delegate of the United States recognises the potential issue regarding “fake news,” but explains that “as technology is advancing, the presence of ‘fake news’ is slowly decreasing as more organizations are dedicated to catching hackers and online criminals.”
As our society progresses, we must adapt to this new world that relies heavily on technology. Social media has proven to be a prominent and effective platform to advocate important world issues, as demonstrated by the CNN Instagram account, @NowThisNews on Snapchat, and the TED-Ed Youtube channel.
Whilst this debate to educate the public through social media is applied to nuclear waste, it foreshadows the potential for social media to be the new constant for education.
Inkling is UWCSEA East's Literary Magazine. It is a student-led publication that aims to showcase the diversity and creativity of our school through its output.
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