Social Media Shifts Teens’ View of Politics

The first presidential debate took place on Sep. 26.

Shortly after, social media filled with memes and jokes ridiculing and rehashing the candidates during the debate.

Many of these jokes and tweets came from teens and young adults.

This showcased the amount of involvement millennials have in following this election and brought an interesting question to the table: Is social media the reason teens have accumulated such an interest in politics?

Furthermore, is this spread of opinions on social media a good thing?

Some teens use reliable sources to find updates about politics and to create their opinions.

Erin Moody, a junior at Dimond, said she, “gets most of her news from CNN or news updates.”

However, this seems to be an uncommon practice amongst teenagers

Denali Bunker, a junior at Dimond, said, “I think a lot of people just see things on Twitter or Instagram about politics, and take it as face value without furthering their knowledge of it or doing any other research.”

Kenzie Lindemann, a junior at Dimond, agreed. She said she, “never likes to get caught up in the journalistic articles about candidates because they always make it seem like the candidates are worse than they actually are.”

This reliance on social media for news does not cause teens to be unopinionated about politics.

In fact, social media allows for teens to shares their opinions more openly.

Moody claimed, “I think I would be more vocal about my opinions if I had a Twitter, especially because it would be hard for me to not get involved if there was a conflict.”

Furthermore, social media gives teens more exposure to the world of politics, as opposed to only having experience with what their parents have always taught them.

Lindemann said, “I feel like social media does cause me to have opinions on politics in some aspects.”

Bunker agrees. She said, “I definitely don’t just follow everything my parents tell me. If I see something on social media that sparks my interest, I’ll go and further my knowledge of it.”

Also, the humorous state that politics are often talked about on social media, and the memes that circulate create a unique atmosphere around the discussion of politics.

Bunker said, “I think people lose the seriousness of this election, especially when there are so many people making fun of the candidates on social media.”

She also said, “Political humor on social media is a negative thing because it makes me think this election is not as serious as it should be.”

Lindemann had a contrasting opinion.

She said, “Memes make politics more relaxed because now a teen is able to relate to a candidate and actually laugh about it.”

Many teens believe this increase in political opinions is important and will prepare them for the future when they are allowed to vote.

Moody said, “ I think it’s really important for teens to get involved in politics, so that when they can vote, they already have opinions and they are ready to participate in our democracy.”

Lindemann said, “I should be paying to attention to politics even though it makes me angry when I watch debates, or see a journalist claiming a candidate did this or that.”

Although it cannot be determined whether the shifting of teens perspectives on politics due to social media is a positive or negative thing, the opinions of teens can no longer be ignored.