It is often too easy for adults to dismiss the power of young people. It is often too easy for the young people to dismiss their own power. In 2018, it does appear that this lack of awareness is changing. From empowered youth demanding social change in the US to a German teen leading a program to plant millions of trees to the youth of Hong Kong trying to find the best way to express their passions, young people across the world are looking at their communities and seeking a way to use their power to shape the future. It is not an easy task and it is not without its challenges and dangers.
Community psychologists have long sought to include young voices, and often begin thinking about systematic change by thinking about the youngest members of the community who are led into those existing systems. In this issue of the Global Journal, the articles speak to projects and research surrounding youth.
First, Schlehofer, Parness, and Ross use a participatory action research approach to examining bullying and a prevention program in Maryland. Middle school students are an integral part of understanding the mechanisms of bullying and how communities can combat the effects and prevent destructive relationships among young people.
Next, Patka, Wallin-Ruschman, Murry, and Minich examine the concepts of critical consciousness and sense of community to understand their interplay for youth in Ukraine.
Finally, Steltenpohl, Reed, and Keys examine meta-stereotyping within a particular video gaming community. While video game play is not restricted to any particular age group, there are implications for young people particularly given the meta-stereotypes surrounding violence. As parents and youth in the US struggle to find reasons for violent acts in schools, and the temptation to point fingers of blame in many directions including media consumption increases, studies like this one help provide essential context for difficult conversations.
Two Community Action Bulletins round out the issue, examining the ways in which community psychology is realized for young people in college and how one young community psychologist found her path through mentorship.
Thanks for joining the Global Journal for these discussions and feel free to comment or share your thoughts on Facebook. Keep the stellar contributions coming and certainly reach out with any questions or concerns.
Editor, Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice
Community Engagement Institute
Wichita State University