Edited by Stephen Coleman and Deen Freelon
AbstractIn this chapter, the authors review the literature on Internet use and political engagement among contemporary youth. In particular, the chapter focuses on whether and how individual-level Internet use among young people today is connected to their political engagement. Of the two main sections of the chapter, the first provides general background knowledge on each issue: what Internet use among contemporary youth implies on our efforts to understand their lives and how the levels of youth political participation have been discussed in the field for the last two decades. Then, the second section covers three (largely) chronological research strands that have addressed or have been addressing the inquiries of: (1) whether Internet use affects political engagement overall; (2) which types of Internet use are more or less related to political engagement than others; and (3) why and how Internet use is related to political engagement. Then, the authors provide an empirical illustration that exemplifies some of the aforementioned points. Overall, the authors conclude that young people’s Internet use, to some degree and/or in some areas, seems to have positive impacts on their political engagement; however, they also leave some tasks to be solved in order to make the contention more convincing.
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