Two days ago my account on twitter with 175,000 followers was suspended. My crime was not being inappropriate or explicit, it was not being offensive or insulting, it was not being deceptive or delusory. No, my crime was being a teenager.
I am over the required age for twitter (which is 13), and yet they still expelled me from the premises of their technological world, branding me 'too young' to operate in that adult space that we call 'twitter'. Perhaps I would have been less disgraced if I was under age or if I didn't use my platform for what I believe to be an extremely vital cause - animal protection and the preservation of the environment. However, twitter have disregarded this and begun suspending hundreds of teen accounts. Considering that soon the responsibility for the welfare of the whole human race will be handed over to my generation, isn't it imperative that we are treated more like allies than criminals?
Some people have suggested that this is a case of censorship, others blame the newly enforced GDPR rule. Either way,
our voices have effectively been silenced, in the technological world at least. This is an extreme case of adultism (the power adults have over children). Adam Fletcher writes that 'One of the ways adultism affects young people is through silencing. Silencing youth happens when adults take away the ability of young people to speak. This happens directly, such as when adults tell youth to be quiet or take away their instruments for communication. ' This is exactly what Twitter has done.
I am not stating that young children should be allowed free access to the precarious minefield of the technological world, however, by restricting our access and taking our means of communication, twitter has not made the internet safer, but has made it a breeding ground for deceit. Young people will now feel compelled to lie about their age and consequently, they'll be exposed to inappropriate and repugnant content meant for much older people. Surely it would be better to ensure that our voices are heard, our passions are nurtured and our space for communication and networking is made safe rather than repressive?
My platform has been snatched and the community I had integrated myself into has been stolen in the blink of an eye.
However, my passion remains and my message endures. I will continue to do what I can to protect our beautiful planet and wonderfully diverse wildlife. I know that many young people will stand with me. If we have to start over again, then so be it. We will do that because we care deeply about our future and the future of our planet and wildlife.
If our voices are silenced, we will only shout louder.
UPDATE: My twitter account has now been reinstated. However, this post will remain because the message is vital. Youth have an important role and need the means to be able to project their voices to adults and children alike. I will continue to stand by those who have been silenced in any way.