Top Pro & Con Arguments
Social media encourages civic and political responsibility.
“Many of today’s youth take to digital spaces to develop their civic identities and express political stances in creative ways, claiming agency that may not be afforded to them in traditional civic spaces. The key difference between civic engagement by youth today and older, more traditional forms of action is the availability of digital technology, which provides a low-barrier-to-entry canvas for young people to create content that is potentially vastly scalable,” according to a 2020 UNICEF report.
Social media creates a more equitable point of entry and space for continued civic and political activity than traditional spaces. This easy access “contributes to a sense of socio-political empowerment,” which, in turn, makes young people more likely to participate in offline political activities, including voting.
Carla, a self-identified Latina young person, explained, “I feel like it’s my duty, that I come from a heritage of people that don’t have a voice, don’t have the opportunity to say something… it’s my duty to be like ‘this is wrong.’ And hopefully that inspires someone else to be like ‘oh, she’s right,’ or ‘oh, he’s right.’ And I want to be a part of that, so that’s why I do it. We’re a generation where we have a voice.”
Meanwhile, many young people are taking responsibility to properly vet information they share. Jeremy noted, “I found myself becoming much more active [during an election] to some degree, in terms of reposting different pieces of information that I try to vet as much as possible… I found myself once or twice having to delete stories because of the information ended up being incorrect, and I felt like it was my obligation to immediately take it down.”
Social media allows for political activists to fundraise, partner with influencers to boost the message, promote events including marches, share stories, and spread awareness of their chosen issue(s). For example, social media use fueled political protests including the Arab Spring, Black Lives Matter, #LoveWins, #MeToo, and Occupy Wall Street.
Presidents Obama and Trump both used social media to an unprecedented degree to communicate with both US citizens and people abroad. “Social media not only enables the politicians to directly communicate with the citizens but also encourages political participation of citizens in the form of feedback via comments on social networking sites,” according to researchers.Read More