Worrying research suggesting that some young adults are turning away from democracy should be noted by schools, says ex-police detective and school safeguarding expert James Simoniti

A recent report – The kids aren’t alright (Stanley et al, 2022) – from centre-right think-tank Onward attempts to offer insights into why some younger adults are detaching from democratic norms.

The recent political omnishambles perhaps did little to encourage greater attachment to democracy, however one of the report’s conclusions – that one of the drivers of a detachment from democracy among this age group is a narrowing of social networks leading to less tolerance of different views and more polarised identities – is one that school leaders and teachers should consider carefully.

Of course, we must be careful not to over-react to findings like these. Reassuringly, democracy is still the form of government with the most support from younger adults, and the older people get the more likely they are to reject non-democratic alternatives.

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