Media and Civic Engagement

The role of Web 2.0 technologies in fostering youth participation

Authored by: Tao Papaioannou

The Routledge International Handbook of Children, Adolescents and Media

Print publication date:  May  2013
Online publication date:  July  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415783682
eBook ISBN: 9780203366981
Adobe ISBN: 9781134060559


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Civic participation among youth has a powerful normative value for democracy. However, until recently, the interest in public life among youth has been steadily declining. Young people are described as politically apathetic as they are uninterested in the news media, unaware of national and international current affairs and indifferent about participating in the political process (Lopez et al., 2005). The advent of Web 2.0 technologies such as social networking media, YouTube, blogs and Wikis provides young people with new opportunities and different modes of processing information, interacting among one another and participating in communities and society. Political and civic groups are increasingly promoting themselves online, hoping to attract the interest and support of young people who are inclined to use these technologies. While the use of social media such as Facebook in articulating citizens’ actions and social change has challenged more traditional participation and public debate practices, important questions are emerging about the potential of these technologies to facilitate civic participation and empower youth.

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