Most teens do not have a vote, so @15, a new teen-led social change platform from Best Buy, has been launched to give them a voice.
With the release of the first in a series of quarterly @15 IMO (shorthand for â€œIn My Opinionâ€) polls, teens will be heard. Best Buy also announced it is inviting teens to help direct its philanthropy through the newly-created @15 Fund, which teens will execute to help fund social change projects.
The first @15 IMO survey, conducted in September 2008, reveals that the majority (80 percent) of U.S. teens feel like they arenâ€™t heard by adults in general. Seventy percent of the group is â€œâ€˜pessimisticâ€™ about the future,â€ while more than 60 percent of the 13-17 year-olds who participated in the IMO feel that the economy is the top issue the presidential candidates should be discussing. Teens also say they fear that the recent Wall Street bailout will have repercussions for years to come â€“ and that the younger generation will be left holding the bag for the decisions adult leaders are making today.
The poll was conducted nationally using the online media and social networks that teens use regularly to share their thoughts. Other @15 IMO highlights include:
â€¢ The vast majority of teen respondents (80 percent) would like to sit down with the two U.S. presidential candidates to help them understand whatâ€™s important to teens.
â€¢ The majority of teens surveyed are closely following the presidential race, males and older teens in particular; less than 25 percent say they arenâ€™t following the race much at all.
â€¢ Older teens have a greater interest in becoming involved in the political process than females and younger teens.
â€¢ Teens feel their own parents pay as much attention to their opinions on important issues as their friends do (about one in four say â€œa lotâ€). They also say teachers pay more attention than elected officials, but considerably less than their own parents and friends.