We need to rethink how we engage young people in politics. Here’s why:
1. Only 12% of young people are certain to vote in 2015
This is huge. According to a study by the Hansard Society, less than an eighth of young people will exercise their democratic rights next year.
2. We shouldn’t listen to Russell Brand
Telling young people not to vote is a sure-fire way of ensuring that youth policy slips further down most politicians’ agenda if they know they don’t need to engage young voters.
3. Youth Issues are talked about but not dealt with
Youth unemployment and the lack of youth civic engagement are classic social ills that are trotted out on a daily basis by everyone from politicans to journalists to concerned onlookers, but little effort is made to include young people in the way these issues are addressed.
4. We’ve got a serious access problem on our hands
Initiatives like Youth Parliament and Young Mayor’s Scheme are not representative of the experience of UK youth. Most policy research involving young people relies on methods that don’t invite young people to speak candidly in the way they would to their peers.
5. We need to change the way that information is shared
Studies on youth issues are rarely read or shared with the people who form their focus. The sharing of policy reports does not reflect the way that young people consume information, which is primarily through social media. As such, their (often interesting and accurate) findings go unnoticed.
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