Tuesday 22 October, 2019

Young Bajans tired of being ignored

Krystal Hoyte, Vice President of the Barbados Youth Development Council, speaking during an Internet Governance Forum panel. (Photo: Internet Society Barbados Chapter)

Krystal Hoyte, Vice President of the Barbados Youth Development Council, speaking during an Internet Governance Forum panel. (Photo: Internet Society Barbados Chapter)

Young people are sometimes invited to have a seat at the table but their voices still are not heard. As a result, the Internet has become the place where young people assert themselves.

This was the position of Krystal Hoyte, Vice President of the Barbados Youth Development Council (BYDC) and one of the panellists at the Internet Governance Forum discussion on Internet and Governance – Democracy and Economy.

She said that even though young people are weighing in on serious issues online, their opinions are not taken seriously and their many tweets or Facebook posts hardly attract attention.

"The only time something goes viral is when we are fighting and somebody posts it online. Positive things from young people don’t make front page and that is why we are trying to use our Internet to create a voice.”

“I want young people to be taken seriously and I don’t want any more tokenism,” said the young journalist who is also a member of the National Youth Parliament. “We [as a society] just want young people to have a seat at the table, but we don’t want them to say anything – to be seen and not heard.”

Referencing the #lifeinleggings movement, she said that young people regularly use their social media platforms to speak out on problems in society. Likewise, she pointed out that young people have mastered using the power of social media when it comes to promoting fetes and other commercial activities.

Nonetheless, Hoyte said, there is a disconnect when it comes to politics. She observed, “When it comes to politics, many young people are spoken of but never for. We usually talk about young people as a problem.”

Fellow panellist, economist Jeremy Stephen, who has a steady following for his Facebook Live videos weighing in on various topics, suggested that if young people want to effect change, they need to organise.

“It doesn’t have to come through a body; it just has to come through persistence,” said Stephen, who noted that despite speaking publicly on economic issues for some time, he was only recently being seen as an influencer.

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