I was intrigued to read the Guardian’s piece on ‘why young people get a bad press’ the reasons are fairly clear in my eyes. We live in a culture where scandal sells, sex sells, violence sells, sad facts but true. To report a young person doing something negative is the easy option and one many journalists take. For an example just look at the bestselling book ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ a great book but it has all of the above mentioned qualities in abundance.
In his Guardian article Ally Fogg rightly points out people like to reinforce their pre held cognitive biases. Nothing re-affirms this better than the yearly debacle of A-level and GCSE announcements.
Year on year results are improving, instead of congratulating the students, teachers, the record investment in education by the Labour government and young people understanding the value of academic application at the young age. Yet we too often hear people jumping on the, it was easier in my day bandwagon. One of my favourite headlines was the GCSE results are now worthless as a measure of a school’s success. I am sure a young person reading this would feel their 11 years hard work in the education system was worth it.
I am lucky to be a trustee for the Young Achievers Trust a great charity that recognises the outstanding impact young people have on their community. The young people who get nominated for to receive one of our awards I believe represent most young people in the UK. The 99% campaign recently launched to tackle negative stereotyping of young people shows that under 1% of people under 20 in London are involved with crime.
So the next time you see a bunch of young people acting in a negative way, remember they are the minority. Think about the young people you know personally and how they conduct their lives. I reckon you could in for a pleasant surprise.