Thomas Jefferson claimed that “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.” I cannot argue with that; we must make smart, informed decisions to maintain our freedom, safety, and happiness. Thanks to the internet, we have greater and more free access to information today than we ever have. However, has it helped us to become “an educated citizenry?” Or are we moving farther away from Jefferson’s ideal?
During a recent debate, Marco Rubio told the audience to google a few facts about Donald Trump. The searches immediately shot up. This situation is just one example of how the internet is used to “inform” citizens. How has this easy access to information changed the way we see presidential candidates?
So much of our information comes from googling and often people are likely to believe whatever comes up first. It is easy to find countless articles and websites that will back up and claim facts for either side of an argument. We can quickly find information to support what we are looking for. However, this increase in quick information does not necessarily mean that we are becoming an “educated citizenry.”
While it is definitely helpful to be able to learn things so easily, it is not enough just to have limitless information at our fingertips. Whatever the source of our information, it is more important that we question, analyze, contextualize, and come to our own conclusions about our findings.