Monday, February 13, 2017

Study: More Students Support First Amendment

There’s good news from the new “Future of the First Amendment” survey released last week: High school students nationwide show greater support for First Amendment freedoms that at any time since the survey began more than 10 years ago.

The Knight Foundation-funded survey of about 12,000 high school students, in spring 2016, found fully 91 percent of the students said it was important to be able to “express unpopular opinions,” up from 83 percent who felt that way in 2004.

There’s one key lesson in the survey to which adults should pay particular attention: The survey found that “students who more frequently consume news and actively engage with news on social media demonstrate stronger support for the First Amendment.”

The link was shown across platforms, whether it be social media or print newspapers. To Gene Policinski at The Knight Foundation, this correlation supports the notion that more exposure to news and information only builds knowledge, and that familiarity builds a better sense of the value of those five freedoms – religion, speech, press, assembly and petition – to our nation.

More than nine in ten (91%) high school students now agree that “people should be allowed to express unpopular opinions” compared with 83% who held that opinion in 2004. Survey results show 71% of students who actively discuss, comment, and share news stories on social media express strong support for the First Amendment, compared to 56% of those who don’t actively engage with news on social media.

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