Not Just A Notification

The presidential alert had a lot of people talking.


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The Presidential Alert had everyone looking at their phones.

Paola Bahena , Staff Writer

It was almost the end of seventh hour when a loud buzzing and beeping echoed from nearly every student’s and teacher’s phone. People who checked the notification read, “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No Action is Needed.” Most people  did not know how to react with the message they received.

On Oct. 3, almost every single smartphone in the United States received the first message testing the new nationwide presidential-level Wireless Emergency Alert. The test was meant to distribute an emergency message to the whole nation and determine whether there are improvements to be made.

The message was sent out to test in case there is an emergency of some sort. According to TIME Magazine, the Federal Emergency Management Alert (FEMA) said that the presidential alert was to help warn Americans in case there are areas endangered by natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters and threats that can affect public safety.

“The presidential alert does help if there is a major event happening,” said social studies teacher Mr. Nicholas Pegarsch. “The first thing that pops in my head are natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and  for the president  to be able to communicate.” Presidential alerts are hugely necessary in order to keep American citizens informed and aware of potential danger. However, as Pegarsch acknowledges, sometimes technology can increase the chance of a miscommunication. “An accidental missile alarm was sent off  to the entire state of Hawaii,” Pegarsch said, giving one example. “Everyone received a message that there was incoming bombs.”

 Even though the presidential alert was to help benefit Americans, some people saw the alert as if the president was going to tweet to Americans and criticize them. According to TIME Magazine, “The misconception that the customized message will be similar to his tweets had some people online protesting the scheduled test, even going as far as turning their phones off to avoid receiving the Presidential Alert. The #Godark103 was being used by Twitter users who protested the Presidential Alert by shutting off their phones.”

While the #Godark103 movement seems like an extreme reaction, Pegarsch speculates that it is a symptom of people’s dissatisfaction with the U.S. government, particularly their commander in chief. “I guarantee that those people are not protesting for the presidential alert system itself,” said Pegarsch “They are protesting with having communication with the president in general. A lot of this is occurring from the political climate we have right now.”

 Although there were people protesting about the presidential alert, there were others that were complaining that they didn’t receive the alert at all. According to USA TODAY, many people used social media to note they failed to receive the test. FEMA said that cell phones that were turned on should have gotten the message, but users who were calling someone or with an active data session open on their phone might not have gotten the message.