Internet activities = more community engagement
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Does the Internet make for more engaged citizens? For many youth, the answer is yes, according to a new study by civic learning scholars.
This press release was issued by the University of California Humanities Research Institute.
February 23, 2011
(Irvine, CA) — Youth who pursue their interests on the Internet are more likely to be engaged in civic and political issues, according to a new study of student Internet usage by a group of civic learning scholars. Youth who use the Internet are also more likely to be exposed to diverse political viewpoints, the study shows.
The study's findings run counter to two commonly held assumptions: first, that the Internet makes exposure to divergent political viewpoints unlikely, the so-called "echo chamber" effect; and second, that the Internet promotes shallow activism among youth, so-called "slacktivism."
The first-of-its-kind longitudinal study by civic learning scholars of high school students' Internet use and civic engagement found that:
- For many youth, their interest in the Internet translates into engagement with civic and political issues.
- Contrary to popular belief, it is rare for individuals on the Internet to only be exposed to political perspectives with which they agree, but many youth are not exposed to political perspectives at all.
- Teaching new media literacies such as credibility assessment is essential for 21st century citizenship.