By Sara Gomez
By Sara Gomez
Rabat – Today’s youth holds a lot of power in its hands. The ideals, perceptions, and actions of today’s youth— who will someday become the doctors, activists, educators, politicians, and leaders of the earth— will formulate the design of the world for future generations.
For this reason, among others, it is important that influential factors in the development of the youths’ ideals, such as the media, lead them in the right direction toward an understanding and tolerant future.
In the UK, researchers have made some discoveries about where the minds and attitudes of British youth concerning immigration and Muslims may be heading, and they are quite alarming, to say the least.
The UK charity Show Racism the Red Card (SRTRC) surveyed 6000 children aged 10 to 16 in over 60 UK schools between 2012 and 2014. The data collected from the questionnaires revealed a generally negative attitude toward migrants and Muslims among students, with 60 percent of them responding “yes” to the question of whether or not they believed asylum seekers and immigrants were stealing their jobs. Over half of the students agreed with the statement, “Muslims are taking over England.”
On the surface, the results may simply suggest an increasing percentage of racism among students. University of Manchester professor Hilary Pilkington disagrees, saying that the results were “not evidence of widespread racism among young people,” but instead signaled “anxiety—often based on inaccurate information.” This would mean that the information about the state of migration and Muslims in the UK provided to children comes from a biased, incomplete, and often incorrect source. There are a few obvious outlets that may be influencing the children’s attitudes such as their parents, friends, and educators.
Some outlets, however, such as television, radio, and print and online news are not as obvious, yet equally—if not more—influential as well.
After further examination of the data, SRTRC chief executive Ged Grabby said that the results demonstrate the negative effects that media has on youth and should be used to raise awareness about the issue.
Media is so highly embedded into the youth’s culture and everyday life, that it is becoming increasingly hard for them to recognize its negative effects in themselves, for those too have become embedded into who they are.
Dr. Paul Jackson from the University of Northampton warns the public that although the youth’s attitudes are formed based off of untrue information from the media, they are forming dangerously real racist attitudes.
He said, “The subsequent levels of hostility towards these groups is very worrying and something that we, as a society, need to take seriously.”
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