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Twice As Many 18-Year-Olds Having Their Say On Facebook Than Have Registered To Vote

30/12/2011 11:54 | Updated 22 May 2015
Teen on FacebookPA

Teens love swapping gossip, weird videos and showing off their new looks on Facebook, but their love for having their say does not appear to include changing things in the real world.

Newly released figures have revealed that while Facebook has 1.08million 18-year-old users in Britain, just over half a million who have reached voting age in the past year registered on the electoral roll.

In Britain, more than 30million people – almost half the population – log on to Facebook each month. This is more than the 29.7million who voted in the May 2010 general election.

The latest study, carried out by the credit information company Experian, was of electoral rolls from the 460 local authorities across the UK. It found that out of the 47.4million registered voters, 520,000 were newly registered.

Jonathan Westley, the company's managing director, said the findings highlighted the need for social media to be used to engage politically apathetic teenagers.

He added: "It's intriguing to compare how many people registered to vote when they turned 18 in 2011 to the number of 18-year-olds using Facebook.

"It simply underlines why it's important that organisations adopt new technologies to better serve this section of the population. It is also vital to educate this demographic on the importance of registering to vote and explore how social media engagement could be part of this."

Samantha Mills, head of campaigns at the Electoral Commission, said: "Our own research, published earlier this month, showed that only 56 per cent of 19- to 24-year-olds and 55 per cent of 17- and 18-year-olds are on the electoral register. The low voter registration rate among young people is very concerning.

A recent report by the Electoral Commission also found that the number of Britons who have not registered to vote has almost trebled in the past decade.

Does this political apathy amongst young people worry you or is it perfectly normal in your teens?

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