Let Us Talk at the Table: Why Teen Voices Need to be Heard



Kayla Kost

Teens will inherit the world adults created. They should have a voice now.

Hope Rose Mauch and Kayla Kost

When it comes to what’s happening in the world, the views of teenagers often get dismissed. Older generations think that because we aren’t old enough to vote, we shouldn’t have strong views on political issues, but this is our world too, and even if we are not old enough to go to the polls, our voices matter. As we soon mature into adulthood, our stances on political issues begin to matter more in society, but we cannot truly develop our stances unless we are given a chance to voice our opinions now. Blocking our views, especially in politics and issues of equality among all people, only motivates us more to speak up and be heard. 

Past leaders have tried to silence us. For example, former President Trump tried to shut down the platform TikTok. When teens were making progress with worthy ideas on certain issues, Trump said in an interview that TikTok would be shut down if it didn’t make a deal for America to own the company. TikTok was never shut down. We have the resources of social media, such as Instagram and TikTok, that teens use to express important ideas. Some members of older generations don’t comprehend our utilization of social media; it’s a secret weapon the older generations should let us use to our advantage. 

Most teens use social media religiously. This is good for getting information about important events in the world out fast. Almost everyone is posting about political events. Teenagers are using the platforms to put out important information to organize. With teens getting the word out on social media, protests and events have a much bigger turnout. For example, when we had peaceful protests planned such as many of the BLM and Pride movements, we spread information about when, where, and what time they would happen.

There are midterms in two years, elections in four, and telling teens they can’t form their own opinions at a young age will discourage them from voting. If teens start to express and share their political stances, they can consequently better know their places in the topic of politics and important world events in the future. Expressing opinions about major world-changing events should be encouraged for younger audiences, especially because we will be the ones to have to deal with a lot of these issues when we’re older. 

Compared to other generations, teenagers today have made some of the biggest changes to be noticed. Some have signed petitions, others have spread the word around about what’s happening in the world, some even brought attention to major issues like global warming

Teens have good ideas and solutions to major problems such as the issue with racist people in power. When teens support “Defund the police,” we actually mean we need to give more funding to medical professionals, social workers, and other workers who have a very different function than the police. With police having less responsibility, they won’t mishandle their power. Yet then again, according to the older generations since we’re “always on our phones,” we aren’t taken as seriously. 

The future is currently in our hands, and it’s important to try and solve issues now rather than putting them off to fix them later alongside other major issues that will happen in the future. If we all start to listen to each other now, the world will be a better place for everyone. At the moment we´re not doing so well; in fact, we’re drifting apart even more, just from the clash of opinions. If we don’t want to be in a worse place in the future, then we need to come up with better solutions to fix things instead of just blocking people out/on Facebook or Instagram. 

Think of how teens can help during the pandemic. With the importance of social media, we post about how important it is to take the proper precautions such as wearing a mask and socially distancing. With the vaccine out, more people are posting and informing others to get the vaccine. There are about 40% of Americans who say they will not get the vaccine, but through media coverage and more people on social media talking about the importance of it, hopefully, many will change their minds.

The majority of Gen Z wants to help the society we live in because we will soon be leaders. Some of us are closer to being considered members of society while others may have a few more years to go, but all in all, we want to make a change. The generation just wants what’s best for everyone, even if we aren’t 18 yet. Always remember what you learned from the one guy on Vine: ¨Love yourself, Accept yourself.¨