AfD election campaign and young voters: opinion formation on crack

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Written By Maya Cantina

In the European elections, the AfD won 16 percent among 16-24 year olds. One reason: radicalization on TikTok. Young people there are left to fend for themselves.

Woman with pink hair has head hidden in pink hoodie, arms stretched upwards

Lost perspective Photo: Oleksandr Latkun/imago

Wipe and go. Everything, always in real time. Unfiltered content constantly flows into the brain. 30 minutes, 3 hours, night over. TikTok and Co as a medium of exchange, for distraction, as a replacement for therapy.

Giving opinions on such a platform works very well. Since they are malleable, young people also use them extensively. These people have also been politicized there – with an impact on the other life, that without a screen.

16 percent of young voters under the age of 24 voted for the right-wing members of the European Parliament on Sunday. Right-wing extremists and populists have been using TikTok for years. They offer simple solutions to complex problems; declare themselves victims and allow sensational content to be received without classification. The AfD reaches millions of people every day on TikTok.

Likes and views release endorphins and make you want more. This seduces you and makes you receptive to increasingly coarse and harsh things, until you end up in a bubble

The structure of TikTok is also to blame for this. Algorithms ensure similar content, short, fast videos make it difficult to switch off. Just like addicts, you need more and more of the drug in less and less time. Extremists use this to their advantage. They bombard the channels with their content, there is no mercy on what can be said, shown and felt.

Dude, get to the point

The world will end soon anyway if the evil asylum seekers don’t overrun us sooner. Mr Krah says we are closing the door and climate change is just made up. Simple solution. The introduction is boring: dude, get to the point. Wipe and go. It’s like forming opinions about crack.

Maybe our brains actually need a brief moment when it comes to storing information, instead of consuming them exclusively. And in this the young people are completely alone. They impose limited screen time on themselves or banish the account to a device that doesn’t fit in their pocket. But not having social media today is like not having friends. Nobody wants that.

In the self-discovery phase it is important to be affirmed and heard. TikTok delivers all of this. Likes and views release endorphins and make you want more. This seduces you and makes you receptive to increasingly rough, harsher things until you end up in a bubble: sexism, extremism, Islamism.

Politically interested, psychologically burdened

The parents and guardians are even more overwhelmed than the young people by all the new things. Should I take away my child’s cell phone? That does not work. WHERE. But adjust and turn small adjustment screws, clarify, classify. Take your time. Fine. The government has completely overlooked the influence of disinformation on social media. She left an entire generation behind. Media literacy, no thanks. Olaf Scholz, who finally ended up on TikTok with his briefcase, doesn’t help either.

Young people themselves are increasingly aware of their situation, according to the trend survey “Youth in Germany 2024”. No generation before them was so interested in politics and so psychologically burdened. The research also shows that things are getting worse for young people. Your concerns should be taken seriously.

Three youth researchers called for more opportunities for young people to participate in political processes. Scientist Klaus Hurrelmann, who contributed to the study, says that young people are willing to take responsibility. But they have the impression that the state does not care about them.

On to grandpa and grandma

Some find the answer in the uprising – joining the FFF or taking to the streets – and some no longer want to be “made fun of,” as Krah and like-minded people like to put it. They prepare for the fight against the “elite” and take care of their side separation.

According to the study, concerns about inflation, housing, poverty or refugee flows cause a high level of dissatisfaction with the political situation. The potential for right-wing populist attitudes has increased compared to previous studies. Some are fundamentally disappointed with their living conditions and therefore vote for the AfD out of conviction.

Older people can help form opinions and define right-wing extremism. The people gone The least number of people over 70, namely 8 percent, voted for the AfD in the European elections. So in the summer we go to grandpa and grandma or to the retirement home for the FSJ. Wipe and go.

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