What YOU think of Boris, dogs, and banning meat

Young minds: The Day’s readers are generally aged between 11 and 18.

Do teenagers know best? The Day has been running daily polls to find out what you think about everything — from politics to Jeremy Kyle, to dogs as pets. So, what did you have to say?

Let’s start with the most important question The Day asked this term: Are dogs the best pets? An absolutely correct 86% of you replied: “Yes.” (Not that we’re biased.)

As the world celebrates 50 years since man first landed on the Moon, 86% of you believe that humans will one day live there permanently. Around 64% of you think that the world should send out a message to aliens.

Meanwhile, 77% of readers said they believed in the supernatural. “This was a more surprising result,” said 15-year-old Honey, who visited The Day for work experience last week. “I thought more people wouldn’t believe in the supernatural as it is not backed by scientific evidence.”

She was also pleasantly surprised that 75% think women’s football is as good as men’s, since “men’s football is such a huge part of culture”. The Women’s World Cup has clearly had a lasting effect, which may also explain why 91% said that football was more important than politics.

But what about politics? Most of The Day’s readers are based in the UK, which will get a new prime minister next week. Only 18% think frontrunner Boris Johnson will be good at the job.

“He has a poor reputation […]. He has said some quite racist remarks,” said 16-year-old Vibha, another work-experience student. “He is also very indecisive, changing his opinions on issues and backtracking on statements.”

There was a slightly higher opinion of current Prime Minister Theresa May, but not by much. Only 23% said she was a good prime minister. “She did not complete Brexit,” explained Vibha. “Thus, she was a failure as a PM.” Vibha also blamed the Government’s response to the Grenfell Tower fire.

Despite preferring football, young people are still engaged with politics, especially protest: 72% agreed with civil disobedience and 69% approved of milkshaking.

Unsurprisingly, the environment has been a big issue. A huge 90% did not think Earth could survive with 10 billion people, which the UN predicts happening by 2100. Almost half of you believe that we should ban both plastic and eating meat — extreme actions that would help the environment, but dramatically affect many people’s daily lives.

Teen spirit

Do young people know best? “People underestimate the power of a young mind that is new to everything and experiencing for the first time,” 17-year-old singer Billie Eilish told NME earlier this year. “We’re being ignored and it’s so dumb. We know everything.”

But adults might disagree. Take banning plastic, for example — it may sound good but, in reality, it will be extremely difficult to carry out. It could seriously damage a lot of businesses, putting jobs at risk and generally causing chaos. As you get older, you learn how complex life is and that change takes time.

You Decide

  1. Which of these results is the most surprising?
  2. Do teenagers know everything?

Activities

  1. Write your own debate question about an issue you care about, or a news story you have seen. Take it in turns to survey the rest of the class (for example, with a simple show of hands).
  2. Choose one of the poll results mentioned in this article. (There are more under the Q&A below.) Write a debate in the style of The Day which presents two different sides of the argument.

Some People Say...

“Youth is easily deceived because it is quick to hope.”

Aristotle, ancient Greek philosopher

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
Some more interesting results: 59% think the USA will go to war with Iran; 86% think the USA is running concentration camps; 60% think a woman is most likely to defeat Donald Trump in 2020; 90% think it is not wrong to be a billionaire; 73% say winning is the only thing that matters in sport; 91% say ITV was wrong to cancel Jeremy Kyle; only 37% would want to be an emperor, but 93% want to be a spy; 75% think, one day, death will be reversible.
What do we not know?
How reliable our polls are. As The Day is used in schools, we allow accounts to vote as many times as they like — this means that every student in a school can have their say using the same log-in details. While we hope this is not being abused, this could cause inaccurate results.

Word Watch

Boris Johnson
The former Foreign Secretary and Mayor of London between 2008 and 2016. The UK’s new PM will be chosen by the 160,000 members of the Conservative Party. Johnson is leading in polls for this group, with 74% of its support.
Racist
Johnson was accused of racism when he called women in burqas “letterboxes” last summer. In 2002, he used the racist term “picanninies” to describe members of the Commonwealth and, in 2009, he described President Obama as a “part-Kenyan” with an “ancestral dislike of the British Empire”.
Theresa May
The PM of the UK resigned from the Conservative Party earlier this year, triggering a leadership election, which will also mean her replacement as PM.
Grenfell Tower
A tower block in Kensington which caught fire in June 2017. The fire killed 72 people. Many more lost their homes.
Civil disobedience
Refusing to obey certain laws as a form of peaceful protest.
Milkshaking
Throwing a milkshake at someone: notable victims include far-right figure Tommy Robinson and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.