Should the Political and Social Opinions of Minors be Considered Seriously?
Debate Rounds (3)
While I very much believe that anyone with a valuable opinion should be taken seriously, minors included, I do not believe that minors on the whole have as much to bring to the table as adults as far as political and social issues are concerned.
I'm quite interested to hear what you have to say, though, so I'll give you first argument.
In Europe, there is a youth parliament where there are representatives from 39 European countries. This is a valid and serious chance for the youth to establish their voice and opinions and have them taken with serious consideration.
In adolescents, the frontal lobe of the brain is still under development, and continues to be until early adulthood (generally considered to be around age 25) . The frontal lobe is primarily responsible for one's ability to perceive consequences, make logical decisions, and inhibit undesirable behaviors and instincts . To contrast, the brain's emotional center is considered to be at its highest state of activity during those years, which leads to an increase in reckless behavior, and means that adolescents are more likely to make, and less likely to be swayed by, rational arguments in favor of emotional ones . This is even aside from the constantly shifting social environment where peer pressure can be just as powerful a force of influence as anything else.
In Pro's opening statement, they mention that due to readily available media, teenagers are "more informed than ever before." I would agree. The question is whether that information is reliable. With the rise of the Internet and companies constantly vying for their share of the market, manipulation (emotional manipulation especially) is everywhere. Linkbait, SEO, social justice buzzwords... you name it. Not to mention social media, and its use as a dumping ground for every bias and opinion on God's green earth. It makes for a very complicated and precarious environment, and for people who are in the process of developing their decision making skills, it can be nothing less than hazardous to one's worldview.
Now, to be clear, this doesn't at all mean that minors are stupid or incapable of being rational (or, for that matter, that adults are always intelligent). I've seen too many examples to the contrary to believe that for a second. However, it does mean and adult is much more likely to have the necessary experience and capabilities to make wiser decisions. Alternate perspectives are vastly important, and any decisions that personally affect minors should absolutely involve them in the process, but I don't believe that minors' opinions as a whole should receive the same gravitas.
I agree with my opponent's argument that the frontal lobe is still developing in minors, and that this can cause a more emotional thought process. However, perhaps this is exactly what our society needs. We're in a world where deeds that were just everyday acts of kindness are now rewarded as heroic. Our adult society has shifted from empathy to facts and statistics. I believe that, to an extent, this focus on factual evidence and statistics clouds out the humanity in adults when making decisions on political and social matters. Normally, I would argue against my opponent using Wikipedia as a source, but they have two other sources that verify the information well.
I am also not saying that every minor's opinion should be valued as much as another's. There are clearly adults that are more credible in a decision making process than others. This is just as true for minors.
I admit that I was under the impression that the subject Pro intended to debate was whether minors' opinions should be taken as seriously as those of adults, not whether they should be taken seriously at all. The former, after all, is a much more common opinion than the latter. I will accept whatever blame is due me for that oversight.
However, I stated my understanding of the topic very clearly in my acceptance, and this is the first time Pro has corrected me, or for that matter, implied that there was anything to be corrected. In fact, in Pro's first argument, they quote from my acceptance before saying "I argue that minors have just as much to offer, simply from a different light." Pro's adherence to the "true" topic now, instead of in their first argument, seems a little like moving the goalposts, but I'll submit to the voters on this one.
(And while I'm defending myself, Wikipedia simply had the most concise description I could find, although I fail to see the relevance unless the article in question contained an error that derailed my point.)
Back to the topic at hand...
I don't know of any evidence to indicate that society is less empathetic now than in the past. In fact, with the current trend of social justice and civil rights, I think there is a case to argue the opposite. Additionally, I in no way think that emotion is the enemy--just that emotion without logic is dangerous, and that because adolescents are biologically inclined to favor that approach more so than adults, their opinions should be taken with a grain of salt.
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