We are currently in the digital age where social networking is a major form of getting your views and opinions across, it’s also a way of communicating with your idols whether it may be telling Boris Johnson how eccentric you think he is or telling Ed Miliband how much you don’t like him. Thanks to social networking we can finally get our thoughts across on different platforms, we can talk about things that matter the most to us – whether it be Scotland’s independence or what we think about the UK leaving the EU. A lot of young people however, don’t believe that they are taken seriously.

Whenever topics of politics come to question, I often find that people around me will be too scared to give their opinions out of fear that no one would care, and that’s why we have a lot of young people who do not vote.  A popular phrase amongst them is that of: “I don’t care about politics, politicians don’t care about me anyway” or “why should I vote? I won’t make a difference.”  I believe the issue with a lot of young people is the fact that they consider themselves not worthy, or that they are intimidated by how “mature” they may have to seem first.

Even though there are many platforms giving young people the opportunity to speak out, they still do not feel comfortable enough and still believe that their opinions don’t count at all. I think one of the reasons for this is that there are people in society who believe that people younger than them will always be wrong or will have no idea what they are talking about – it may be that there is a stigma around that young people are often too lazy to learn about politics but should they be blamed entirely?

Should it be that politics amongst other things is taught at a young age and that teachers ought to make sure that lessons are interesting? Surely, it’s always good to get opinions from the people that will eventually be in charge.  The voice of the the youth is a powerful thing – if we look at Malala Yousafzai, you see how determined she is in making a change – fear did not get the better of her and so she went on to gain numerous awards and international attention; this proves that there are many influential young people.

In light of Scotland and the topic of independence, I spoke to one of my friends who is originally from Glasgow and he told me that he believed “Scotland should be recognized as a state internationally so that  it could have  its own: embassies, trade rules, economies, powers, borders and military while still being part of the UK symbolically”. Along with the older generations that live in that particular region, should we dismiss some of the younger generation simply because they are young? I believe that it’s not necessary to be an expert in that particular area. A while back, I had been in a group chat talking about whether the UK should leave the EU, believe it or not it’s always a mixed response but what I did notice was that many people who did give their opinions didn’t have much of an idea, yet they spoke about what they felt and why they felt that way, just like Malala Yousafzai.

Another reason why I’ve seen a lot of young people not confident enough to express themselves to the “older generation” and thus being branded lazy, is that they have a fear of what their peers will think of them. I often saw in the early instances of social media such as Facebook, that it was hardly usual for anyone below 18 to talk about politics or religion or anything else that seemed serious in the world – these people were often branded as “nerds”. Of course, things have changed since then – a lot more young people are more involved and there are many groups, sites and blogs that young people will often use to voice their concerns.

There have been quite a few times where political topics have even trended on Twitter and it will often be the case of young people or young adults voicing how they feel about a particular event – during the events of Lee Rigby, young people had taken straight to Twitter to discuss what had happen, people were angry at the government for not being able to protect soldiers and citizens whereas others were angry at extremist groups. In such instances, questions will be asked which the government or other authoritarian figures would have ignored.

The voices of young adults must matter too. When Nick Clegg failed to keep his promise about tuition fees and university students went out to demonstrate, nothing much happened – and this should end.

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