Internet and politics! Two very distinct concepts that yet have found a way to be one and merge in the 21st century! How and Why? Let us look into it in further details to understand why the internet and politics can complement each other.
To understand why the internet is important to help politics reach out to a wider population, we must first understand why the politics is not a popular topic among the youth and the demographics of people who actually subscribe to news related to politics.
A study done by the UN found that young people between the ages of 15 to 25 make up 1 fifth of the world’s population and yet only 1.63% of parliamentarians around the world are in their 20s and only 11.87% of the remaining are in their 30s. This is even more shocking considering that in a third of countries practicing political participation, the eligibility for national parliament entry starts from the age of 25. Where are all the youth in politics? Why isn’t the next generation, the ones who are supposed to have a say in how the country is supposed to be run, speaking up and participating?
This is one reason the survey gives:
“In a survey conducted by the UN IANYD in August 2012, a majority of 13,000 respondents expressing their voices from 186 countries highlighted that the main challenges for youth were limited opportunities for effective participation in decision-making processes. With limited opportunities and exposure to meaningfully participate in inclusive decision-making processes, young men and women feel excluded and marginalized in their societies and communities.”
It is not so much that young people are not trying to be involved. It is more on the fact that the voices of young people fall to deaf years because of the lack of experience. In countries like India where the majority of the population are in their youth, the majority of political parties and the parliament in itself are still made up of the older generation. Where then can the voices of the younger generation be heard?! An article from NewStatesman explains that the reason for the apathy of younger generation towards politics is simple and obvious. “Politicians take no interest in young people’s priorities and thus are able to take up policy positions that actively harm their interests without fear of electoral reprisal.” The problem with this is that by distancing oneself from the system is that the youth will lose their power to improve it. An uninterested population will result in policies that allow politicians to do what is salient instead of what is effective and required.
So where does the internet come in? There is no place on earth other than the internet where the youth are more engaged in and more familiar with. Bring politics to the youth through the internet and they will definitely take a stand. The internet and social media on the internet has time and time again proven its worth to abolish tyranny and establish democracy as seen in the Arab spring in 2011. More notably, take Gaddafi’s death in Libya in 2011 when rebel force largely constituting youth planned the assassination of the tyrant using the aid of social media. A much-needed revolution by the future generation.
Check out this facebook post to understand how social media can reach out to the youth
The internet can act as a tool for politics to reach the eyes and ears and be a platform for the voices of the youth. Through it, politics can reach the youth and aid reform in places where there needs to be one. Singapore’s ministers for example tabs on the resources of social media and the internet to reach out to a wider audience and “keep in touch” with the people. Many countries across the world are now using the internet to stay connected with news on politics and even vie for their favourite candidate. It is no wonder Donald Trump got this famous among the youth.
Quote of the Week: Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google, USA
“Everyone gets smarter because of this technology… and the empowerment of people is the secret to technological progress.“