Written By: Sanjana Yeddula
As juniors in high school, my friend Ishani and I noticed that many of our peers were unaware of what was happening in the media. We would sit in history class and discuss the democratic debates, and, for many of my friends, it was the first time hearing names such as “Amy Klobuchar” and “Kamala Harris.”
After doing some research, we discovered that this was a common phenomenon among kids our age. Despite having hundreds of online news sources at their fingertips, many young people remain uninformed of global issues. Upon further research, we found that only 26% of Americans could name the three branches of government. Moreover, out of 52 million eligible voters under 25, only 6% actually voted.
The current state of the situation shocked us. It’s a tragedy that in many places around the world, people are not aware of what’s happening in their governments. Emboldened to improve the situation, we started on a mission to help bring the next generation of voters into the world of politics.
As we dug deeper into the issue, we discovered the root of the problem: many teenagers in our area avoided reading the news simply because they found many news sources to be “too confusing,” and they weren’t willing to do outside research to keep up. We wanted to create a platform that could enhance people’s ability to comprehend articles from popular news sources such as the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. From there, we began to work on a browser extension called PoliPro.
PoliPro makes research effortless. Once the extension is downloaded, the user can simply highlight the name of a political figure, current event, or political term anywhere on the internet, and then click the PoliPro icon in the corner of the browser to get consolidated information. The extension automatically displays a pop-up with bipartisan facts and figures on the highlighted term along the side of the article as the user is reading it. Once they get the information they need, the user can click out, and the pop-up will disappear. With the help of this extension, readers don’t even have to open up another tab to do extra research; they can stay focused on what they are reading. Our company believes that in our day and age, the most precious resource is time, and with PoliPro, our users can get information in just a few seconds.
Ever since we published our first version of PoliPro on the Google Chrome store, we have noticed increasing support. Within our first week, we had approximately 50 downloads from those in our community - and that number continues to rise. We are currently working to update and expand the PoliPro database in order to reach a wider audience worldwide. We are currently in contact with several school districts to get the extension installed on school-administered devices so it is easily accessible to students.
We also recognize PoliPro’s power in diminishing mass hysteria and the spread of fake news amid the COVID-19 crisis. I believe if we are able to actively update our database to show only facts, users can compare this information to online news sources and determine which claims are potentially misleading. We have been in communication with local schools that have found that many of their students could benefit from our tool during this time.
Ishani concludes, “PoliPro continues to impact people all around the world, and we hope that we can do our part during a time where everyone’s contribution - no matter how small - counts.” No matter your age, if you are an individual who reads the news online, you can benefit from our initiative!
Want to learn more and download PoliPro for yourself today? Visit the Google Chrome store and search PoliPro to change the way you read the news!