In the European elections, the AfD won 16 percent among 16- to 24-year-olds. One reason: radicalization on TikTok. There young people are abandoned to their fate.

Woman with pink hair has her head hidden in a pink hoodie and her arms stretched up

Lost perspective Photo: Oleksandr Latkun/imago

Swipe and walk away. Everything and always in real time. Unfiltered content constantly reaches the brain. 30 minutes, 3 hours, night over. TikTok and Co as an exchange, for distraction, as a replacement for therapy.

Issuing opinions on a platform of this type works very well. Furthermore, due to their malleability, they are widely used by young people. There, these people are also politicized, which has repercussions on the other life, the one that does not have a screen.

16 percent of young voters up to 24 years old voted for right-wing members of the European Parliament on Sunday. Populists and far-right people have been using TikTok for years. They offer simple solutions to complex problems; declare themselves victims and allow sensationalist content to be captured without classification. The AfD reaches millions of people every day on TikTok.

Likes and views release endorphins and make you want more. This tempts you and makes you receptive to increasingly rude and harsh things, until you find yourself in a bubble.

TikTok's structure is also to blame for this. Algorithms guarantee similar content, short and fast videos make it difficult to disconnect. Like addicts, you need more and more substance in less and less time. Extremists use this to their advantage. They bombard the channels with their content, there is no mercy with what can be said, shown, felt.

Friend, get to the point

Anyway, the world will end soon if the evil asylum seekers don't invade us before then. Krah says we closed the door and climate change is simply an invention. Simple solution. The intro is boring: Dude, get to the point. Swipe and walk away. It's like forming opinions about crack.

Maybe our brain really needs a brief moment to store information instead of exclusively consuming it. And young people are completely alone in this. They impose limited screen time on themselves or banish the account to a device that doesn't fit in their pocket. But nowadays not having social networks is like not having friends. Nobody wants that.

In the self-discovery phase, it is important to be confirmed and heard. TikTok offers all this. Likes and views release endorphins and make you want more. This tempts you and makes you receptive to increasingly crude and harsh things, until you find yourself in a bubble: sexism, extremism, Islamism.

Politically interested, psychologically burdened

Parents and guardians are even more overwhelmed than younger children with all the new developments. Should I take my son's cell phone away? That does not work. TRUE. But regulate and turn small adjustment screws, clarify, classify. Take time. Alright. The government has completely overlooked the influence of misinformation on social media. He left an entire generation to their fate. Media literacy, no thanks. Olaf Scholz, who has finally arrived on TikTok with his briefcase, doesn't help either.

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

Three youth researchers called for more opportunities for young people to participate in political processes. Scientist Klaus Hurrelmann, co-author of the study, says that young people are willing to take on responsibilities. But they have the impression that the State does not care about them.

To grandmother and grandfather.

Some people find the answer in the uprising: join the FFF or stay on the streets, and others no longer want to be taken for fools, as Krah and like-minded people like to say. They prepare for the fight against the “elite” and deal with their separation.

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

Older people could help form opinions and demarcate themselves against right-wing extremism. People aged 70 and over voted the least for the AfD in the European elections: 8 percent. That's why in the summer we go to our grandparents' house or the nursing home for FSJ. Swipe and walk away.

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