Globally, civic engagement of young people lags behind the general population. There is some evidence that young people are becoming more interested and engaged in world events. The pandemic and social justice movements addressing the environment, racial injustice, women’s issues, and LGBTQ rights have especially mobilized young people.
Social media has been key to the success of many grassroots movements (#MeToo, Black Lives Matter, and Greta Thunberg). Increasingly young people are also using social media as a source of news. Teachers and professionals who work with young people have noticed a dramatic surge in awareness and interest in current events. They are hopeful this will translate into greater civic engagement and higher youth voter turnout.
Students may be accessing news more frequently, but they are increasingly obtaining news via social media. In addition, young people are often obtaining news from celebrities and social media influencers. These unchecked sources for news raise serious questions about the reliability of the information. Additionally, social media algorithms, which deliver content based on previous usage, can lead to increased polarization. These issues underscore the importance of addressing current events in the classroom using balanced, reliable information. Street Law lessons are designed to encourage students to critically examine legal issues from multiple perspectives. Using the Street Law teaching methodology to examine current events in the classroom is a strong antidote to teen use of social media as a source of news.
Wallace, Amy, "Counterbalancing Teen Reliance on Social Media News: The Importance of Using Street Law Methodology to Teach About Current Events" (2021). Articles & Chapters. 1552.