This week’s lesson on teen activism really struck a cord with me. Not because I am a teenager and not because I’m an activist, I’m neither actually, but because I am currently in a civic engagement course and this is an ongoing debate for political scientists.
Does effecting change online really have any less meaning than if it were offline? The answer should be no. Civic engagement is not declining amongst American citizens, but the methods of doing so are changing. Like, Jim Loughran, head of media and communications for human rights group Front Line Defenders, explains, “Social media enables us to maintain a support and contact base in almost every country in the world.”
Social media connects more people than any mailing address or weekly organization meeting ever could, but the old timers call this “slacktivism.” Sitting on your butt clicking and typing away isn’t the way to get things done… Or is it? I’m the kind of person that would rather beeline to the dessert table rather than take the long way around the buffet. Online activism is sweet in that regard!
Back in the day, kids from the age of 13-25 (depending on the voting age) were seldom viewed as agents of concern or change. But now, technology has made them heard and the younger cohorts can use these digital tools as avenues to become more civilly engaged at a younger age.