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Digital Media and Adolescents’ Political Engagement - Jörg Matthes, Univers...

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MECO Seminar Room, S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

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With their fundamentally different information seeking behavior compared to older cohorts, adolescents’ interest in traditional news and in institutional politics has decreased constantly over the past decades. Especially social media have fundamentally changed adolescents’ ways of interacting with their environment. Using smartphones, they are permanently connected to the world and their peers. This poses opportunities as well as challenges to adolescents’ social and political development. On the one hand, social media may re-integrate adolescents into politics, since social media open up new ways of participation. However, social media may also dampen engagement as social media are primarily used for entertainment and social networking purposes, potentially distracting from politics. Also, even if adolescents are exposed to political issues, they may only use content that accords with their own beliefs leading to echo chambers. In this talk, I will first revisit the hopes associated with digital media when it comes to young people, and then discuss recent data that help to understand when digital media help to foster engagement, and when they do not.


Jörg Matthes is professor of communication science at the Department of Communication, University of Vienna, Austria, and since 2014, he serves as the Chair of the Department. His research deals with political communication, advertising, media effects, as well as empirical methods and more recently, his work is focused on new media technology and adolescents. On these topics, he has published more than 120 journal articles, a total of 12 books, three special issues of journals, and more than 200 publications in total. In 2014, he received the Young Scholar Award by the International Communication Association, and two years later, he became the recipient of the Hillier Krieghbaum Under 40 Award by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC). He is Associate Editor of Human Communication Research as well as Editor-in-Chief of Communication Methods & Measures, and former Associate Editor of The Journal of Communication. In 2019, he is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Department of Media and Communications, University of Sydney.

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MECO Seminar Room, S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

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