Declining support for democracy linked to social isolation – think tank

Declining support for democracy linked to social isolation – think tank

Declining support for democracy linked to social isolation – think tank

Tech companies should place time limits on the use of social media to help combat the decline in democracy support among young people, a think tank said.

The center-right think tank Onward also called for the creation of a national civic services program to facilitate the creation of connections among young people.

In a report released Thursday, Onward found that a quarter of people between the ages of 18 and 34 thought democracy was a bad way of running the country, while 61% said that a “strong man’s rule” “authoritarian would have been positive and nearly half said the same about the army rule.

Support for military government or authoritarian leaders among young people has increased over the past two decades, with the proportion of those saying a strongman leader would be good nearly doubling since 1999, according to research.

Meanwhile, support for undemocratic government has remained much lower among seniors after a brief spike in 2019.

The research is based on a survey by JL Partners of 8,004 people across the UK, including 2,350 between the ages of 18 and 34.

Summer time August 7, 2022

The Houses of Parliament. Young people are more likely to support an authoritarian leader than older voters. (Aaron Chown / PA)

He later argued that the decline in democracy support was linked to increasing levels of social atomization, or disconnection, among young people, with those aged 18-34 being much more likely to say they feel alone or have few. close friends than older age groups.

Those with few friends were also more likely to say they support undemocratic government with Onward by saying that close social networks, work stress, overprotective parenting and the use of social media “seem to contribute to a destructive form of disconnection between. the younger generation that is undermining support for democracy and accumulating social problems for the future ”.

To counter the growing support for authoritarianism, Onward suggested establishing a “national civic service” along the lines of AmeriCorps in the United States or Service Civique in France, enrolling young people in civic missions such as teaching disadvantaged children or l environmental action.

The think tank also called for labor law to be changed to protect leisure so that people can volunteer for organizations such as the St. John’s Ambulance or Military Cadets and the development of a national network of “gaming clubs.” “to allow children to play unsupervised and develop their interpersonal skills.

Social media usage limits would also help deal with “problem users”. The report found that young people who spent more than four hours a day on social media were more likely to support the military government.

But Onward added that it was “problematic behaviors” such as accessing radical content on social media that were more strongly tied to supporting an undemocratic government than just the amount of time spent online.

Former conservative leadership candidate Penny Mordaunt endorsed Onward’s recommendations, saying, “Both democracy and capitalism are like Tinkerbell’s light, if you stop believing they die.”

He added: “The lack of support for democracy among young people is both worrying and unsurprising. Order something on Amazon arrives in a few hours. Solving a problem with legislation takes years.

“We need to modernize both the mandate and its management. Part of this is about connecting people and their power. This report is right in underlining the links between social connectivity and political opportunity ”.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Damian Green said: “If we allow a whole generation of disillusioned with what democracy has to offer, we are playing with fire.

“It is an urgent challenge for all democratic governments that the system offers hope to young people, so that if they work hard they can expect the rewards their parents and grandparents enjoyed.

“The recommendations in this report show that there are solutions that would reconcile young people with the necessary compromises of democracy and I hope the government will treat them very seriously.”

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