In recent years we have seen the number of youth participation in politics fluctuate over time. There was a massive spike in engagement in 2008, but that number dwindled two years later. The youth in our nation are a very diverse bunch with different perspectives and a multitude of different ideas so you can imagine how important it is to have them engaged in our political process. Without their involvement, there would be many issues with our political establishments in trying to keep policy fair and sustainable for future generations.
Luckily there are many ways for the youth to get involved with politics. Programs such as a Youth Parliament count as a prime example to get young people involved. Taking a look at the UK, where they have a youth parliament open to those aged 11–18 years old who have a desire to use their voice in a creative and look towards social change. Involving them in these kinds of engagements can allow for a much deeper understanding of the systems they will need to know in later years. It is important to get them engaged at a young age because if not, they will not take an interest as they grow older and have more responsibilities in society.
There are numerous benefits to youth being more involved in politics as it becomes more of a necessity in our society. One benefit is that if they are engaged in politics, they will be more inclined to involve themselves in civic engagements as well. This means that will be more willing to serve in their communities in areas such as health, education and charity work. The political aspect of their civic engagement can be more targeted in the form of voting, participating in political demonstrations, or signing petitions for important social issues.
Another benefit comes in the potential of breaking the status quo. Because of their fresh ideas, they can influence new policies and give different perspectives to things that have been set as the standard for a long time. This can allow them to be a more formal-part in the decision-making. Another thing to consider is how youth engagement in politics can benefit other young people around the world. With all the crises and issues that youth face all over the world, having some of their own more involved can help improve the newer generations. Young people have a solid idea of what other young people are looking for and can take the necessary steps to assure that the kinds of change needed comes to fruition.
As mentioned previously, youth engagement in politics is not only good for society, it is necessary for politics. It is crucial that they recognize that they are the future and with that in mind, they should have more involvement in how their future looks. We should also be supportive in giving them the tools and various avenues to steer their participation in the right direction.
Originally published at chartwestcott.org on December 15, 2017.