Handbook of Digital Politics
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Handbook of Digital Politics

Edited by Stephen Coleman and Deen Freelon

It would be difficult to imagine how a development as world-changing as the emergence of the Internet could have taken place without having some impact upon the ways in which politics is expressed, conducted, depicted and reflected upon. The Handbook of Digital Politics explores this impact in a series of chapters written by some of the world's leading Internet researchers. This volume is a must-read for students, researchers and practitioners interested in the changing landscape of political communication.
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Chapter 13: Internet use and political engagement in youth

Yunhawn Kim and Erik Amnå


In 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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