Youth Engagement as Consumers

The Freechild Institute Youth Involvement Toolkit

Anytime a person uses something, they are consuming it. This is especially true when money is used for goods and services. Youth as consumers do a lot with money, include paying for recreation, clothing, food and a variety of services. Young people might also buy money, transportation, and other key living tasks. Children and youth can learn to change the world by consuming responsibly, and more.

Imperialism leaves behind germs of rot which we must clinically detect and remove from our land but from our minds as well.

Frantz Fanon

Ways Youth Engagement as Consumers Happens

Youth-Led Boycotts — When young people keep their money at home or refuse to shop in a specific stores, they are boycotting. Ways to help boycotts work including trading or bartering for things, or trading labor (action) for things. When children and youth stop spending their money in stores that depend on them, change can happen.

Shopping for Social Change — Choosing where to shop and what to buy on purpose can lead to powerful social change. Young people can spending their money to challenge bad business focused on many issues, including facing adultism, reducing poverty, ending hunger, stopping illegal child labor, increasing access to education, promoting ender equality, fighting for the equality and empowerment of women, increasing access to child health, increasing access to maternal health, and so on. Where children and youth spend their money and what they buy can affect all these issues and many more. When young people shop intentionally, they can change the world.

Youth as Trainers— Building the local economy can be a powerful way for young people to change the world, and one of the best ways to do that is by educating others. When youth learn about the economy, consumerism, creation, production, commercialism and other ways the economy works, they can teach others. Using hands-on, engaging learning methods can allow youth as trainers to effectively teach their peers, younger people and adults.

Order FACING ADULTISM by Freechild founder Adam Fletcher at
Order FACING ADULTISM by Freechild founder Adam Fletcher!

Needs for Youth Engagement as Consumers

Education — Before anyone can effectively challenge the economic circumstances of themselves and others, they should learn about the economic systems they are engaged in. Learning the influences, impacts, outcomes and consequences of the economy and sharing them with others can transform the ways people see and engage with money and more.

Inspiration — Learning the impacts others have made on the economy, money and society can inspire and motivate young people to take action and make the world a better place. Its important not to use the failures of others as a motivation, especially when other people have decided they’re failures. Instead, allowing everyone to speak for themselves and share their own stories can provide genuine inspiration.

Money — Participating in the economy requires recognizing young people have something to contribute to the economy. With their roles largely unacknowledged by policymakers and parents, young people have to assert their economic impact. They can do this by learning what they have, how they spend it and what difference it can make.

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Other tools are out there, too – share your thoughts in the comments below! For more information about how Freechild Institute can support youth + social change through consumerism in your community or organization, contact us.

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