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Young people avoiding politics on social media, fearing it will harm job prospects

Matteo Bergamini
social media

A survey has revealed that more than three quarters of young people think that if they discuss politics on their social media accounts, it will hurt their chances of employment in the future. The survey, which spoke to more than 6,000 people under the age of 18, also discovered young people think Brexit has negatively impacted political conversations. Contributor Matteo Bergamini, Founder – Shout Out.

A survey of 6,259 British people under the age of 18, has discovered that more than three quarters (78 percent) think that talking about politics on social media will hurt their chances of getting a job in the future. The survey, commissioned by youth political platform, Shout Out UK, also discovered that more than nine tenths (91 percent) think Brexit has turned important political conversations and online debates into ‘slanging matches’ and arguments.

More than three quarters (82 percent) have had or would expect potential employers to check their social media accounts, and 93 percent of those felt they would be judged based on political views on their accounts. Less than a tenth (9 percent) said they would feel comfortable discussing politics at the workplace.

The survey asked questions including ‘Have you ever had an argument on social media over politics?’ with more than half (60 percent) admitting they had and ‘Would you rather share your political opinions on Facebook or Twitter?’ with nearly half (48 percent) saying they’d rather discuss politics on Twitter than Facebook. When asked why, the majority said it was because they could find more like-minded people on Twitter as opposed to Facebook, however the 36 percent that preferred to use Facebook for political discussions said it was because of better security settings and it wasn’t so public.

All respondents were under the age of 18, with 63 percent female and 37 percent male, which allowed Shout Out UK to understand how comfortable young people are when discussing politics publicly.

Shout Out UK is a multi-award winning independent youth platform that provides young people with the tools necessary to engage in politics and a platform to shout out and be heard. Spearheaded by its Political Literacy Course and supplemented by a host of different infographics, videos, articles, workshops and events – it is a one-stop-shop for political learning and enrichment.

Matteo Bergamini, founder of Shout Out UK said; “We commissioned the survey to get an idea of what young people think of discussing politics openly on social media and I think it is massively damaging that so many under 18s believe they’d lose a job opportunity based on their political views. While it’s a good idea for young people to be aware of what they write on social media, open political debate should be actively encouraged, particularly in the current climate.

“Young people are often seen as disenfranchised from the political process and concerns like this are only going to make things worth. It’s vital that under 18s feel they can become engaged in politics at every level, especially when society is in the process of being reshaped thanks to Brexit.

“I hope that employers would reserve judgement on the political views of potential employees – unless they hold extremist views – and see it as a positive that they could hire someone passionate and actively involved in shaping society.”

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