It would be an understatement to say that the view that the majority of society has of today’s youth frustrates me exhaustingly. Why is it that shows like A Current Affair and Today Tonight demonise the youth of today? They treat us like a bunch of young punks, then they wonder why we don’t want anything to do with politics and the like.
In 2005, Today Tonight presented a story whereby they had invited 10 young people, aged 10-15, to stay at a house, liberated from the supervision of their parents. The intent of the segment was to illustrate to the kids how much their parents do for them, and to evoke a sense of appreciation towards the youth’s parents. Of course, the household inevitably became a mess, and Today Tonight proudly presented one of the most negative, yet common stereotypes of today’s younger demographic – all on public television.
Henry Giroux observed that many people believe that “young people in the United States are utterly depoliticised, self absorbed and incapable of engaging in collective politics.” The same can be said for those here in Australia. Reporter, Jason Sternberg reflected upon the “unique experiment” carried out by Today Tonight saying, “Like an abusive parent, Today Tonight placed the young people in a situation where they were doomed to failure and then punished them for failing.”
As a generalisation, it seems that there are only few that believe people under the age of 25 have the ability to take responsibility. Have no fear now; I bring a message of hope. Over the past ten years or so, the advancement of technology has brought with it an unprecedented power to the hands of the youth.
It makes sense that we hear more about young people making a difference in the community nowadays, because as technology advances, the ones to keep up to date with all the fandangle new gadgets will be the youth – not the middle aged politics, or our grandparents – it will be us.
A current example of youth’s rise to fight is the Out of Order Scheme. Earlier this year, Coca Cola sued the Australian Territorial Government over a law, which encouraged recycling. As an act of resistance to the company, young people of Australia began to stick up signs that read ‘Out of Order’ on Coca Cola vending machines, in hope to discourage people from purchasing their products. Photos of these signs would then be uploaded to social networking sites, particularly Facebook and Instagram. The work of these young activists has not been done in vein as it has gone global, with people taking part in European countries, such as Austria, and large justice companies, such as Greenpeace, have even gotten involved.
Young street artist Katso says, “What started as an action has kind of grown into a campaign. And we’re hoping to create more of a movement, like, a grassroots movement based on creativity and humor and social media, combining it with direct action, so we can create awareness about really what are really serious, important issues that affect everyone”.
Through social networking, the younger generation have found a platform on which to boldly voice their opinions. As American scholar, Henry Jenkins believes, the introduction and unravelling of participatory politics, through the means of social networking, “represents a powerful model for how civic groups might empower young people to deploy skills they have developed as fans and gamers to make a difference in the world.”
From what may begin as Clicktivism – the act of mindlessly clicking links, or sharing images that somehow, somewhere, are making a difference in the world – a much broader, deeper status may be met. Although “clicktivism neglects the vital, immeasurable inner events and personal epiphanies that great social ruptures are actually made of” it is a catalyst for the amazing things that the youth of today have the potential of doing.
For further reference, please see below:
- Article 1 – Youth Movement in a Culture of Hopelessness
- Article 2 – Demonising the Youth of Today Tonight
- Article 3 – “Out of Order” Activists Fight Coke’s Bid to Shut Down Recycle Plan
- What is Clicktivism?