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Do we care about current affairs?
Lou Parkinson
Lou says many teenagers don't care about politics
Last updated: 25 November 2004 0942 GMT
lineDo teenagers give a toss about politics and current affairs? 17-year-old Lou Parkinson thinks many youngsters don't care - but she believes it's not all their fault...
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quoteTeenagers are less and less interested in politics and current affairs.quote
Lou Parkinson

As you may know, there have recently been local and European parliament elections.

What you may not know is that there was only a 30% turnout at the polling stations.

Decrease

This figure is likely to decrease over the next five years or so, as teenagers are less and less interested in politics and current affairs.

teenage girls

Some people would be quick to blame the 'complacent and lazy attitude of the young today', however, I feel that they have been a little quick to point the finger.

If you asked teenagers in Gloucestershire if they listened to, read, or watched the news in any way, there would be a relatively large amount of "yeses".

However, on closer examination (and this is purely speculation based on experience) they would be clued up on some, but not all of the major news stories of the moment, and even if they were aware of events, they are likely to be hazy about details.

Even less knowledge

There would probably be even less knowledge about political parties and issues or events in the houses of parliament.

quoteThey simply do not give the depth of information required.quote
Lou Parkinson

The patchy knowledge that they do have is likely to have been gathered through news bulletins on Radio 1, via txt, or in the ad-break before Home and Away.

Again, I do not feel this is entirely our fault.

There are many 'quick-news' facilities geared towards young people but they simply do not give the depth of information required.

Boring

The more factually rich broadsheets and 6 o'clock news programmes simply don't appeal to teenagers and so they are branded as "boring" and ignored.

Tony Blair

This attitude may also be being created by the feeling that we can not affect anything going on in the world.

Taking, for example, top-up university fees, it will affect the majority of us, but very few people were actually asked their opinion.

Extremist activities

This political ignorance has stemmed from a similar root; lack of accessible and imaginative information sources resulting in apathy or, worse, extremist activities.

This is then magnified by the impression that it is increasingly hard to trust politicians.

For example, there have been several scandals that have been uncovered from some UK parliaments and local councils.

Scandal interests teenagers

Unfortunately, scandal interests teenagers whereas policies do not, and so this is the only impression they receive of governmental activities.

quote It is increasingly hard to trust politicians.quote
Lou Parkinson

Young society today has been almost completely divided into those who don't care, and those who care so much that they will try anything to get their point noticed.

Surely neither of these cases are a healthy way for people to feel.

Instant cure-all

I don't think that there's an instant cure-all for this problem, but I do believe that changing the image of the media, and in that way the outlook on politics, is essential if this situation is to be rectified.

teenage girl

Introducing more, or at least easier, ways for young people to get their opinion heard by the right individuals (who can do something) may also help.

We need to catch teenagers now before we are left with an entire society that is either very despondent, or massively overemphatic about current affairs and governmental issues.

We must regain the balance as soon as possible.

Article by Lou Parkinson

This article contains user-generated content (ie external contribution) expressing a personal opinion, not the views of BBC Gloucestershire.

Blair, Blair, Blair, or Blah, Blah, Blah?

Your comments:

Rachel
The reason we dotn care anymore is because it has gotten to serious and cut throat. We dont want to vote if we are only going to stir up things that we dont want to. we have enough problems and enough issues to deal with and we dont need to add polotics to the list.

piggysqueak
I would consider myslef reasonably interested in politics. I listen to the 'Today Programme', watch the six 'o clock news and occasionally buy the guardian. The problem is, we lack plain, unbiased information. Quite a lot of the information which we recieve is in the form of satire which isn't very impartial. If you mentioned Michael Howard we would think of the vampires in 'Dead Ringers' and if someone said that they supported the BNP we would immediately think 'fascists'. I would suggest that some sort of campaign that was independant of political bias or loyalties would be set up to allow us to get the facts. There will come a time when we just become to tired to see through the spin and the only voting we will ever do will be on 'Big Brother'.

Lou Parkinson
Jeremy, thanks for your lovely comments. It doesn't actually say when you posted it so it's probably been here a while but I didn't actually realise I had a comments box on the bottom of this article. I have written a couple of others, my one on dependence on technology is on the website at the moment and I have one on volunteers which you can now access through the archive box on the side of the technology article. I don't think I ever will run for elections, I want to be a teacher, but hopefully I can encourage the right kind of people to take up governing this country that way. Charlie, you make some very good points and I'm really pleased to know that you do care. I hope that there are more people like you out there and so our country won't be in such dire straits after all. Keep paying attention and change what you can about people's attitudes.

Kyle Wilson
I love Tony! Keep up the good work!

Richard
I believe young people are actually very interested in politics. However they are not interested in party politics which occupy the majority of the news articles. We should give young people more credit, I have found many young people are actually very interested in issues which affect their lives. By giving young people more responisibily in their communities and schools, they will value the importance of politics and rate it as a higher priority in their lives.

Jeremy Parker
I think that your article rings true not only in Gloucestershire but throughout the country and maybe the world. You are an inspiration to teenagers and obviously care a great deal for this country. Please will you let us know when you are running for governmental elections- or maybe in the nearer future, when you write your next article. I hope you continue to spread the word as i see you as a positive influence on society

Charlie Archer (Student)
I am thirteen and I’m interested in current affairs, we should be. We all live in the world, we need to know what’s going on and if it’s bad, try to stop it, like when 500,000 people went on the countryside march, including myself. The fact is, is that most people find news incredibly boring and don’t care about what happens to the world as long as at that moment they are safe and happy.

   
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