Do you know the Truth About Youth?

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Written by TAY Editorial Panel on in Highlands and Islands, Grampian and Tayside, Fife and Central, Lothian, Borders and Dumfries and Galloway, Strathclyde and West

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Do you know the Truth About Youth?

Wednesday 26th March 2014 saw the launch of the Truth About Youth Pledge Campaign in Scotland by First Minister Alex Salmond MSP. Young Scot handed over control of their social media to the First Minister and a group of young people as part of a Twitter Takeover aimed at recognising and celebrating the contributions of Scotland’s amazing young people. Answering questions from a wide range of young people, groups and schools, the First Minister answered questions on a number of key issues affecting Scotland’s youths, including employment, opportunities, education, equality, business and the environment.

Taking part in the event, alongside the First Minister and Young Scot Modern Apprentices were the Truth About Youth Editorial Panel. Working alongside the Daily Record and Sunday Mail, the Editorial Panel have been championing Scotland’s young people and helping to share the truth about youth through the media.

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Here they share their experiences of the day and why they feel so passionately about the need to challenge and change negative perceptions of young people.

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“There was a nervous feeling in the air as we waited and chatted on the sofas, waiting for the First Minister to come.  As the car pulled up with the First Minister in it, it started to become real that this event was actually happening.

Some looked nervous, others joyful and even a few just lost in the moment. The feeling in the room was that this event was a momentous occasion. What a great way to launch the Truth About Youth pledge.

There were TV camera crews and photographers everywhere capturing the event. We want Truth About Youth to make a big splash and the high profile nature of this launch did just that. It was great to see how enthusiastic the First Minister was to engage and respond to the Tweets that were coming in. He knows the Truth About Youth in Scotland and from the word go was keen to share positive messages via his responses.

These tweets reveal just a few of the issues being discussed.

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When you see an event like this capturing the imagination of people all over Scotland (young, older and high profile) you begin to realise how important an issue it is. Everyone in Scotland should know the Truth About Youth. As young people, we know this importance of this more than others. Whether it’s because of positive or negative experiences, the way young people are treated is really important.

“I joined the TAY Editorial Panel with other like-minded young people in an attempt to try and abolish this stigma through use of the media – generally considered to be a source of these stereotypes. Often the way young people are portrayed instils fear in people. Surely, the best way to fight the spread of this kind of negativity is to replace it at the root with positive stories. Something this Panel aims to do.” – Isaac Callan

“This pledge campaign is so important. On the day of the SQA exams results, on the news and all over the newspapers all I saw was “exams are getting easier “or “youngsters are not studying hard enough”. After studying hard and finding many of the exams tough I was outraged by seeing these claims spread all over the media. Truth About Youth allows me to set the record straight about issues affecting young people.” – Jennifer Smith

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“As a mother of two children and having my first at the age of 18, when walking through the streets of my home town I used to see the looks and hear the ‘tuts’ I’d get and the whispers – ‘look at her young single mother on benefits’. In fact I’ve been an independent person since the age of 16 after leaving care. I wasn’t a single parent and I had a job. Sometimes society seems to negatively portray young people. I want to challenge this view.” – Vanessa Black

“Being a young person in today’s society, there is a bracket held around us as ‘the next generation’. Tune into the news and many times there will be talk of trying to help ‘the next generation’ for when they grow up and become part of society. However, negative media attention and people’s perception towards young people almost show that despite many wanting to help us when we become working adults, there is almost some not willing to help us now. I became part of the Truth About Youth campaign to try and change these perceptions.” – Ryan Maher

“I’m not going to pretend that all young people are perfect. I have seen for myself the trouble that some young people can cause. But these people are not the only face of today’s youth. Those who do cause trouble are the members that need the most help. Part of why we need to know this is not just to say that ‘young people are great’ but also to offer genuine help to those young people not quite there yet. If society and the media can understand the real truth about youth, hopefully we can see this change.” – Scott Wilson

Alex Salmond’s endorsement of the Truth About Youth Pledge has thrown this issue of how young people are perceived into the media eye and hopefully will cause people to take notice of the positive stories involving young people that occur on a daily basis.

The First Ministers involvement shows that people across the length and breadth of the country are taking an interest in and appreciating young people’s contribution to society. And this can surely only provide a stepping stone for other people, both members of the public, decision makers and celebrities to take notice too.

Wednesday 26th March 2014 and a momentous day for young people in Scotland. However, the launch of the pledge campaign is just the beginning. If, as a nation we are serious about celebrating our young people, we can’t lose the momentum we have gained from this launch. We need to continue to encourage other and engage with our communities to get them to pledge their support too.

As the Pledge’s profile rises it will become an increasingly useful tool in proving support for young people and fighting negative perceptions that exist. Let’s recognise that Scotland’s young people are amazing. Take the Pledge at www.taypledge.org and add your voice to the campaign.

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