Working Papers

Youth Internet Use and Recruitment into Civic and Political Participation

Joseph Kahne and Ellen Middaugh

Date: Sep 30, 2011

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As political engagement moves online, candidates are more frequently relying on the Internet to share information and mobilize voters (Herrnson et al. 2007), and Internet recruitment is particularly likely to target youth (under 25) for varied forms of civic and political participation (Rock the Vote, 2008; Schlozman et al, 2010). This study draws on panel survey data of 436 youth surveyed in high school (ages 16-17) and following the 2008 election (ages 19-22) to examine whether and under what conditions recruitment in general and internet recruitment specifically encourage participation in varied civic and political activities. The implications for reliance on the Internet to promote youth civic and political engagement are discussed.