Teens who previously felt they had no say in things in this world, now have access to tools to help get their voices heard. The traditional marches and picket signs have been replaced for many by the click of a mouse. According to The New Face of Teen Activism , teens are logging on to impact their community and their world. Teens are using Twitter, Facebook, blogging and other online tools to raise awareness of causes that are important to them. In addition, access to information on injustices around the world is getting teens motivated to be activists about issues their peers in their communities may not even be discussing. These tools are allowing teens to get a more global view of our world.
While some argue about the effectiveness of online activism, The 6 Activist Functions of Technology, states that social media “is making decentralized and leaderless movements logistically easier.” Logistically speaking, it is easier to spread information to other oppressed individuals to impact change.
Personally, I have not been a digital activist for a cause, but I have many friends or acquaintances who have been active digitally. One friend is a parent of a child with Autism and has lobbied online and in person and rallied support from many to help get Autism covered under insurance plans in our state. She has been successful through a combination of traditional and online activist activities.
Many issues exist that I have strong feelings about, however, as a teacher, I feel a need to stay somewhat neutral in my public opinions on such issues. Once your words are out there, they can be taken out of context and used against you at a later time. I’m cautious about this because it can impact future employment opportunities, etc. If I felt strongly about an issue that could be impacted by activism, I wouldn’t hesitate to get involved, but at this time, this has not happened. My views on many issues related to education differ from colleagues who have been in the teaching profession for a long time. As a “non-traditional” teacher (one who came to teaching as a second career, later in life), I have strong feelings about common core, tenure, and teacher accountability. My views, I have found, differ drastically from many who have been in the career since straight out of college. I have had discussions related to those issues with many individuals, however, I have not felt a need to become an activist about those topics.