Let's Talk Fact Checking

Let's Talk Fact Checking

Why it's important to understand both if something is true, and why it matters.
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I was recently visiting with my grandmother who, thanks to a generous Christmas present, now has an iPad and has become fascinated with the internet. My grandfather, too, recently joined the Information Age, and both of them are getting very much used to navigating this new world. One of the dangers of the internet, which they are slowly beginning to learn, is that all information is out there for the taking, and not all of it is necessarily true. I realized this when, for the fifth time in under three months, my grandmother expressed concern about another everyday household product that Facebook (in all likelihood a secondary site, but she doesn't know the difference) told her would cause cancer. This is, I think, one of the most popular, tired, and mildly extreme examples of the kind of information that can spread easily through social media and the internet in general which, when gone unchecked, can cause unnecessary panic.

Now I know most people who would read this article aren't in her demographic, and for the most part any of my readers are going to think, "well, I know that. I'm not stupid." That's fair, I know you're not, but we can all get caught up in a story, we all let our guards down sometimes, and we take in information without thinking to question it. Not everyone is built to form an argument every time a fact is stated; that would exhaust just about anyone. The trickiest bit is when you're told something on the internet, and it's true; the sources check out, you can find it reiterated, you trust the author, everything seems clear. Even then, though, you need to be careful because, you see, the information can be true but still lacking in the proper context.

My sister, for example, has recently taken to playing Pokemon GO. Shortly after its release, a few media outlets caught on to the clause in their privacy policy which, when read verbatim, can seem terrifying. Writers brought this section to the attention of their readers, and posed questions about the potential risks of offering up quite as much information as you are by playing the game. For those who aren't familiar with this story, the cliffnotes version is that essentially any information connected to the game or your Google account is information that you sign away access to the company Niantic, and Niantic reserves the right to share that information with law enforcement and government agencies as they see fit. Now this can seem pretty scary, and not just because the company is being given a huge amount of oversight with your personal information, but because if they're tracking that information it means that, should the company be hacked, the information is free for the taking. Now, this can seem frightening, and it should. Your private information is an important thing to protect: a lot of Pokemon GO players immediately changed their accounts so that they weren't tied to a Gmail at all, hoping to keep some of their information safer. However, what the articles discussing this privacy agreement don't tend to point out is that all of that information is already out there, and it's already under the control of Google, your Phone Provider, and a number of other companies (not to mention easily accessed via a number of other applications and services). I don't mean to scare you further, I am just looking to put this particular story in a broader perspective. Your new favorite game might be a risk, having a cellphone or using dryer sheets might be dangerous, but realistically, most of the time, these risks are insignificant issues blown out of proportion.

So, all I'm saying is, be careful out there. When you read something, check it, check it again, and really think about what that information can mean for you. You don't have to assume everything on the internet is false, but don't just stop at FactChecker and be content: really take control over your thoughts on every subject. It'll make you feel safer, and more secure in the Information Age.

Cover Image Credit: Kaboom Pics

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To The Senior Graduating High School In A Month

"What feels like the end, is often the beginning."
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It wasn’t too long ago that I was in your shoes. Just a little over a year ago, I was the senior that had a month left. One month left in the hometown that I grew up in. One month left with the friends that I didn’t want to leave. One month left in the place that I had called “my school” for the past four years. You are probably thinking the same things I thought whenever it came down to only 30 days left. You’re probably scared, nervous, worried, or anxious. Maybe you’re like me and are dying to get out of high school, ready to start a new chapter. Or maybe you aren’t so ready yet. Maybe you’re wishing for a little more time.

As scary as it is, this month you have left will fly by. You’ll blink and you’ll be standing in your cap and gown, waiting for your name to be called to receive your diploma. You’ll look back on your last four years at your school and wonder why time went by so fast. It’ll be bittersweet. However, trust me when I say that you have so much to look forward to. You are about to begin taking the steps to build your future. You are going to grow and learn so much more than any high school class could teach you. You are going to meet amazing people and accomplish amazing things. So, as scared as you might be, I encourage you to take that first step out of your comfort zone and face this world head on. Chase your dreams and work towards your goals. You are smart. You are brave. You are capable of achieving amazing things. All your life, the lessons you have learned have prepared you for this point in your life. You are more than ready.

There are times when you will feel alone, scared, or confused. There are times when it won’t always be easy. But those are the times when you will shine the most because I know you will work through whatever problems you may face. Don’t think of the bad times as a terrible thing. Use them all as learning experiences. As author Joshua Marine once said, “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”

You might think that this is the end. However, it’s not. This is only the beginning. Trust me when I say that the adventures and opportunities you are about to face are nothing compared to high school. Whether you are going to college, going to work, or something else, this is the beginning of your journey called life. It will be exciting, it will be terrifying, but it will all be worth it.

So, as you walk out of your high school for the very last time, I encourage you to take a deep breath. Relax. You’ll always have the memories to look back on from high school. But your time is now, it begins today. Embrace it.

Cover Image Credit: http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1152445/images/o-HIGH-SCHOOL-GRADUATION-facebook.jpg

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What You'd Miss Out On If Video Games Went 100% Digital

Going 100% digital is not without its disadvantages.

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It's 2019, and we are full on in the digital age.

It is no surprise that shopping is being done online a lot more now than 5-10 years ago. Online shopping does have its perks. However, some consumers still have appreciation and preference for going to an actual store to make some of their purchases. Video games, consoles, and accessories are no exception. Sure when you buy digital games, you limit the number of times you have to get up to change the game you are playing, but that is not a good enough reason to go 100% digital.

So, what would consumers miss out on if video games become 100% digital?

There are several things one would miss out on should the video game industry became 100% digital.

I still see a considerable share of video game collectors for both retro and current generation gaming consoles. They enjoy purchasing special editions of specific titles that comes with extra goodies such as steelbook cases.

The majority of gamers, such as myself, do not have a video game library that is 100% digital or 100% physical. I tend to prefer purchasing physical games, but if a specific title is either digital only or if it is significantly less expensive online, then I will make the digital purchase.

If you were to purchase a game physically and it ends up not meeting your expectations, you will have options as to what to do with the game. You can return it for partial or full value back depending on where you bought it. You can sell it online on websites like eBay or LetGo. You can even regift it to someone if you are feeling generous.

When you purchase a digital game, you are stuck with it. You can delete it from your system's hard drive, but you cannot get your money back for it or give it away to someone else.

Most current generation games have things you can purchase separately such as season passes, costumes, and weapons.

You could link a credit card to your console's account and possibly have another user make a lot of purchases of “just this one thing," resulting in a hefty credit card bill.

If you would rather avoid that happening, you can buy prepaid cards and codes at various retailers so you can either buy that one item you want or buy digital currency to add to your account so your credit card will not get charged until your account has no money or not enough money in it when you try to purchase something.

Some consumers also still enjoy conversing with a real live human being, which you do not get when you do everything online.

So while online game purchases can be more convenient, it is not necessarily always better.

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