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The importance of teens in politics

Updated: Oct 27, 2021

Highschool students protest gun violence in Minneapolis, MN on February 21, 2018. Credit: Fibonacci Blue / Flickr

For as long as we can remember, politics has mostly been discussed by adults and was thought to only be talked about amongst adults. But recently more and more young people have begun to educate themselves and become more active in politics. This may be because during a pandemic and quarantine people are starting to run out of things to entertain themselves with, or possibly because we have more Gen Z or teen-dominated apps like TikTok, where younger people can express themselves with less backlash from older people. For instance, the Baby Boomers and Gen X do not always agree with the newer generation and they tend to have different opinions when it comes to racism, misogyny, and especially the LGBTQ+ community. Most people in Generation Z support the LGBTQ+ community and are a part of it. They also want to raise awareness for serious issues like sexism and racism, while most people in the older generations can have a hard time understanding the LGBTQ+ community and may have a more difficult time seeing racism and misogyny and how it can be affecting people.

Even if you are under the age of eighteen and cannot vote, learning about world news, problems, and politics is very important. Not only will you be learning new things, you can also gain a better and much more useful understanding of the world around you. With this newfound knowledge about the world we live in, you may also learn more about yourself, how you think, and what you might want to see happen in your country, state, etc. When more people in the community become interested in politics or world news, we can spread the word on current issues and make a positive change.

Empty seats at a Trump rally on June 20, 2020. Credit: Thru_the_Glass / Flickr

Already, the youth have made a very big impact on politics and current issues. Not only do they continue to spread awareness through platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter, but they have also been participating in protests and rallies as well as signing petitions and encouraging others to do the same. Though it might not seem like it, educating yourself on a topic and spreading awareness is a big help. Education can inform and encourage more people, and when a large group of people becomes interested in a subject and want to see a change, more politicians and those in higher power will begin to take the problem at hand more seriously and try to create change. Younger generations are also affecting politics by urging those eighteen and older to vote, and by messing with certain political events. For example, back on June 20th of 2020, former U.S. President Donald Trump held a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and in protest teenagers and young adults made a plan to order tickets to the event and not show up. This resulted in Donald Trump giving a speech and campaigning to only 6,200 people, when a much larger audience of almost 1 million people was expected.

Though there have been major uprisings with teens getting involved in politics in the U.S., other countries are experiencing this as well. For instance, a 23-year-old woman named Malala (above, left) has been fighting for women’s rights from as young as fifteen. She was also the youngest person to win a Nobel prize. When she was as young as eleven she wrote and published her anonymous diary about how she felt living under Taliban rule in Pakistan. Once she became a teenager she began speaking more actively about how women need equal access to education. Malala is a fantastic example of a young person who got involved in politics and decided to make a change. She is also a great inspiration to all people. Some other amazing teen activists that made a big impact are Greta Thunberg and Amika George (above, respectively middle and right). Greta Thunberg is only eighteen years old and is a leading voice in climate change activism. She has inspired as well as led many protests, and has educated people all over the world. Amika George was only seventeen when she founded #FreePeriods and decided to fight period poverty in the U.K. She even helped make it possible for the U.K. government to fund free sanitary products in every English school and college. Overall, teens impact politics a lot more than most people think and have made big and amazing changes; they bring newer and different ideas as well as different perspectives.

Young people at a climate strike in New York City on September 9, 2019. Credit: mathiaswasik / Flickr

During the pandemic, many people may be wondering how they can make a change and get involved in politics. Some great and effective ways to do so are educating yourself and others, spreading awareness, signing petitions, and donating money to important causes. I believe education is one of the most important and effective ways to make a change, whether that means educating yourself, or someone else. Hopefully, more people will become aware of current events and even be inspired to help, become more open-minded, or be a better person throughout the process. You can spread awareness by talking to people or using any social media platform: this is another way to help people learn and it gets more people involved in the movement you are interested in, which can help pressure the government into helping the people and listening to us. Signing petitions and donating is also super helpful and can directly benefit the cause you support. Of course, not everyone can donate. But sending links to people or putting the link on your Instagram story can encourage people that can donate to do so. Once the quarantine is over you can still follow these methods to make a difference, but you will also be able to participate in protests, go to rallies, see public speakers that you support, and organize or participate in walkouts.

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