Recommendations for successful online youth engagement
Only 37% of 18-24 year olds voted in the 2005 UK General Election
IPU’s Resolution on Youth Participation in Politics Calls on parliaments to promote youth awareness of and participation in the political process by using modern information and communication technologies (ICTs) to reach out to young people and increase access to information on the democratic process
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development There is an opportunity to build on young people’s generally strong uptake of the Internet as a medium for entertainment and learning and use this as a lever for democratic involvement that addresses young people’s current dissatisfaction and apathy towards politics.
UK Government’s e-democracy policy One important target group for this policy is young people. All democratic institutions have a responsibility to ensure that young people are able to play their part. Evidence suggests that young people are among those least likely to see the democratic process as relevant to them. Young people are also among those most likely to be competent in ICT.
What are young people actually doing online?
Most young people are not regularly participating in politics online.
Young people who are engaged in online politics are not the ones we’re worried about.
Is an emphasis on the Internet distracting us from examining more fruitful avenues for youth engagement?
In defense of online youth engagement
If you want to connect with young people, you can’t avoid the Internet.
Online politics offer opportunities to youth that offline politics cannot.
“Know the user and all else will follow”
1.Draw young people in while respecting their privacy
3. Public awareness campaigns should focus on the opportunities, and not just the risks, of the Internet for young people
4.Be conscious of parents’ rules
5.Do not treat “young people” as a homogenous category
6.Opportunities to speak are not enough; young people must also be heard
7.Be prepared to invest in web-based engagement
In sum: The Internet’s potential as a forum for youth political participation has not been realized A successful strategy begins with an understanding of what young people actually do online Online engagement is less about technology, and more about strengthening the role of young people in politics. This requires much more effort than simply adopting new web-based tools.
Thank you! Contact information: Amanda Clarke Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford firstname.lastname@example.org