2020 has shone a spotlight on many inequalities in our society and we have seen a renewed interest in politics and social justice among young people. From climate change (#FridaysForFuture) to systemic racism (#BlackLivesMatter), from COVID-19 (#StayHome) to sexual violence (#MeToo), social media provides a vital platform for teens and others to focus on the issues that matter to them.
In the midst of a global pandemic, the US election captured many young people’s attention. Described by one media outlet as “the revenge of the millennials”, young voters were a decisive factor in the election result. Figures from NBC suggest that 65% of 18 to 24-year-olds voted for Joe Biden – significantly more than any other age group.
We certainly saw the US election gain traction on Yubo. Over the last six months, there were more than 150,000 live streams on the topic and, around election day (3-4 November), the Yubo community was discussing Trump vs Biden in more than 15,000 live streams.
During election week, we ran a poll of more than 14,000 Yubo members under the age of 18 in the US. More than half (59%) of the respondents said they were “very invested” in the election and 82% had watched at least one of the presidential debates. When we asked “What topic was most important for you in the 2020 election?”, ‘social justice’ was the most popular answer (57%) – streets ahead of ‘economics’ (8%), ‘environment’ (7%) and ‘education’ (3%).
There are lots of examples in American history of young people driving social change, including the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War. With so many economic and social issues currently affecting the younger generation, it’s perhaps no surprise that youth voter turnout in the 2020 US election was much higher than four years ago. Strikingly, 93% of the under-18 Yubo users we surveyed said they would have voted if they had been allowed to.
Inspired by young activists, such as Greta Thunberg, Ja’Mal Green and Malala Yousafzai, children and teens are increasingly urging politicians and other decision-makers to help them change the world. As Deloitte’s Global Millennial Survey notes, young people are “… deeply affected by the pandemic but seem able to see opportunity in the darkness, viewing this crisis as an opportunity to reset and drive the change they want to see. Millennials and Gen Zs aren’t just hoping for a better world to emerge after the COVID-19 pandemic releases its grip on society — they want to lead the change.”
For younger members of the Yubo community, we offer a safe space where they can meet new people and hang out. As our usage stats show, many young people are choosing to debate the issues of the day in our live rooms. With more than half of the respondents in our recent poll citing ‘social justice’ as the most important topic when electing a new President of the United States, technology continues to play a vital role in connecting them to one another and helping them to have their voices heard. We are proud to support this go-getting, change-inspiring, put-others-first generation.