A worrying trend Rural Ramblings
The last few of our children are at school now. It’s been a long journey but a couple of years and they’ll all have left and fledged or very close to it. I asked them the other day if their class mates knew what was going on in the world, the country, the county, the nearest town even. The answer that I got was disappointing and frankly alarming. Mostly, “Not a clue dad,” they said. There were apparently a few exceptions but by and large, despite spending a good deal of their time on their phones not only did they not know what was going on, they didn’t seem to be interested either. The same could possibly be said of some of their parents.
In a few years these teenagers are going to be out in the world and able to vote. Will they vote? Maybe, but I doubt it. Voter turnout in the under 24-year-old bracket is appallingly low in Canada. With the 2015 federal election kind of bucking the trend and hitting around 57 per cent.
Low voter turnout is not good for democracy and if younger people can’t be motivated to vote then the status quo holds power, or it is easier for a populist to seize power or an incumbent to keep hold of it. We’re seen plenty of that recently.
With all the communication devices that we have with us some of our younger generations never watch the news and never read a newspaper relying instead on dubiously sourced newsfeeds and shares.
Politics at all levels can be boring but what happens in chambers and parliaments affects us all. Neither do politicians do themselves any favours in the way that some of them behave and conduct themselves. Some of them set very poor examples, rudeness, bullying, corruption and sometimes I think very little regard or care for the people that they represent. Others, I have to say conduct themselves very well and set good examples. However, it only takes one rotten apple to spoil a barrel.
For our children. I think it is up to the schools and parents to get them motivated and educated to the world around them. Maybe lessons on the news. Learn what is out there, how it is presented, the balanced and the unbalanced the fake and the real. Maybe students can take their knowledge home and get their parents involved? Perhaps good leaders will emerge because of it? I hope so.
Here’s a wild idea. Restrict phone access during class time. Even block phone access if students won’t voluntarily do it. Any urgent messages can come in via the front desk. Maybe a school could produce its own student newsletter or newspaper, digital would do it. Very little cost involved. It’s been said before, but I’ll echo the words, “Low voter turnout produces bad government,” wrote Michael Crawford Urban for The National Post.