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The Impact of Internet on Young Citizens Approach to Politics

This essay delves into the notion “policy makers and politicians are right to identify a “civic deficit” in young citizens” through research and a contemporary understanding of what it means to be engaged in politics. There is both for and against issues that are argued to either agree or disagree with this statement that will be explored and demonstrated in the following essay.

It is the internet that has redefined young citizens approach and attitudes towards learning and engaging in politics. Due to the rapidly evolving internet, there has been a reduced amount of attention being paid to the way the youth utilise social networking sites (Facebook, Instagram, Myspace, Twitter and YouTube) to participate in politics. These sites are the most conventional communication venues in the twenty-first century because it allows individual users to interact and share information on their beliefs and interests. “Most have a SN account and make

heavy use of them” (Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, 2008), however this use can be what engages or disengages the youth from politics.

The question is whether the youth uses the internet for political engagement or not. This question is important because many younger individuals use the internet as a source of reliance and communication which therefore, addresses the issue of whether young citizens are identified as a “civic deficit”.

Through conventional measures, young citizens are considered to be more political disconnected, indicating a civic deficit. Research conducted by Henn, Weinstein and Forrest, 2005, explores the disengagement of young citizens in politics. They concluded that the youth “have a distinct lack of interest in (formal) politics; display comparatively weak commitments to political parties; and are less likely than older people to be members of such organisations” due to a rise in social network use. Other research also depicts younger generations as “digital natives at the forefront of participatory media that may promote new forms of engagement in public life” (Bennett, Wells and Freelon, 2011).

A study conducted by Baumgartner and Morris, 2009, states that “youth are less likely to participate in politics by voting, contributing money, volunteering time, or showing up to a protest rally than are older Americans” due to the different interests in media. The youth are less likely to “read a daily newspaper, tune in to traditional evening television news broadcasts, or listen to news on the radio” in comparison to their counterparts. This is because young users often rely on social networking as a source of entertainment, “Typical SNS (social networking site) participants are more invested in adding glitter to pages ... poking their ‘‘friends’’ than engaging in any form of civic-minded collective action …

Most people are simply logging in to hang out with friends that they already know… People pay attention to what interests them. Not surprisingly, offline or online, gossiping is far more common and interesting than voting” (Baumgartner and Morris, 2009) which is detrimental to their engagement with politics. The study also concluded that there is little to no evidence "to suggest that social networking websites have facilitated significantly greater political knowledge, engagement, or participation” (Baumgartner and Morris, 2009) or that the youth just ignore this facilities due to a lack of interest. However, some young citizens are simply not exposed to civic and political issues which is why there is a “civic deficit” in these young citizens (Cohen, C.J. and Kahne, J., 2011).

Conventional Measures of Young Citizens' Disengagement in Politics

Although, young internet users are often slightly more knowledgeable and interested about the field of politics than nonusers as they are “more likely to engage in Internet-based political activity (blogging, for-warding a political e-mail)”. However, they were still not likely to participate in “conventional political activities, such as voting” (Baumgartner and Morris, 2009) which emphasises this civic deficit in young citizens.

Furthermore, Henn, Weinstein and Forrest, 2005, surveyed young citizens and combined their results and opinions on their perception of political influence. This survey concluded that only a small 11 percent considered the possibility that young people had an influence in policy-making and political views, whilst 81 percent claimed the lack of influence that young citizens (like themselves) had. “… suggest that young people in Britain today feel uniformly marginalised from the political process, and relatively powerless to influence it. This would seem to correspond with the ‘politics focused’ model, indicating that young people feel as if the political system remains remote and distant, failing to attract and engage people of their generation” (Henn, Weinstein and Forrest, 2005).

This view and perception of young citizens is a partial explanation of why there has been a decline in youth turnout within voting. In 1997, youth turnout had dropped 10% to 56% and by 2015 has further dropped to 43% (Topping and Barr, 2017). Another issue that has identified a “civic deficit” in young citizens and their engagement with politics is that some young individuals were not registered to vote, which argues the statement that “Policy makers and politicians are right to identify a “civic deficit” in young citizens”.

Another issue that reflects a “civic deficit” in young citizens towards policy-decisions and politics is because they [young citizens] perceive the political world to be distant and broadly irrelevant from their lives. In the study conducted by Henn, Weinstein and Wring, 2002, one young citizen commented on why there is no engagement towards politics from the younger generations; “All politicians complain that they are not getting through to the younger generation, but they don’t give the younger generation any real reason to be interested in politics”.

On the contrary, research states that young citizens are not apolitical and apathetic and do have an interest and engagement in political issues. The survey conducted by Henn, Weinstein and Wring, 2002, explained that the younger citizens (50.9%) do discuss and debate politics with family and friends “at least ‘some’ of the time”. Henn et al. continued this survey by asking about national politics and their [the youth] engagement and interest with national politics; “seven respondents in ten replied they had some or more interest”. However, there was significant engagement and interest more towards local affairs - by definition, these local politics are of a lesser profile. These local affairs include protesting for animal rights, legislation towards same-sex marriage and HSC related issues.

There have been further investigations into the way the Internet and social networking are impacting democratic and political engagement amongst the youth. "Youth participate via new media in countless ways. Those habits and skills appear to have been key supports in these protests … Both in the U.S. and abroad, so much civic and political life is online. We’ve got to pay attention to new media when we think about civic learning” (Cohen and Kahne, 2011).

An example of this is during the 2006 mid-term elections, there was a great level of enthusiasm and engagement amongst the youth on Facebook.com and MySpace.com debating on who is a suitable candidate. This ultimately, led to an increase in supporters as well as votes (Williams & Gulati, 2007). Kahne explains that “research demonstrates that many youths are disengaged from traditional forms of civic and political life but are very engaged with new media”. This therefore, contradicts the statement “policy makers and politicians are right to identify a “civic deficit” in young citizens” as young citizens are engaged in politics in more forms than national.

In conclusion, the statement “policy makers and politicians are right to identify a “civic deficit” in young citizens” has both for and against arguments on the involvement and participation of the youth in politics and policy-making decisions. As stated and emphasised above, the youth are either disengaged because they see no relevance to their lives, use social networking for entertainment purposes or are simply uninterested.

However, there is the argument that the youth are engaged in politics; in local platforms or different ways than what is recognised by the nation. Ultimately, there has been a rise in local political concerns, and a decrease in national political concerns due to the youth feeling “powerless” (Henn, Weinstein and Forrest, 2005).

The Impact of Internet on Young Citizens Approach to Politics

The respective essay helps in analyzing the idea that “policy makers and politicians are right to identify a “civic deficit” in young citizens” with the help of the proper research along with modern understanding of the meaning of engaging into politics efficiently. In this respective essay, there are different for along with against the different issues which are being contended with the respective type of statement which will be demonstrated and explained in the respective essay effectively.

            With the overall usage of the internet, this has helped in redefining the approach of the different young individuals towards their engagement into politics and learning about the different politics as well. With the rapid growth in the internet, there is reduction in the overall amount of the overall attention which is being used by the different young individuals wherein the usage of the social networking sites has been taken into consideration effectively as well.

Section 1

With the implementation of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, the different individuals are being able to take part in different political debates and aspects. These are the various types of sites which are helpful in conventional kind of technique of communication in the 21st century as this helps in allowing the different individuals in interacting along with sharing the information on the different interests along with beliefs. Most of the individuals have the SN account along with making huge usage of the same (Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, 2008). However, the entire usage can help in engaging along with disengaging the different young generations from the politics.

The major question in this regard is to find out whether the different young generation uses the internet for political usage or for some other usages. The respective analysis is essential as there are different youths in the country who tries to use the internet for the communication along with act as the source of reliance in the organization and this can be defined as the source of deficit which is civic in nature.

With the help of the different kinds of measures which are conventional in nature, the youth in the 21st century is disengaged from the political issues and this is termed as the civic deficit. Henn, Weinstein and Forrest (2005), has commented that there is disengagement of the different individuals in politics and this has affected the political aspects in a negative manner as well. From this, it can be concluded that the young generation individuals have lack of proper interest in different political aspects and there are no such commitments towards the political parties as well which are less likely in nature in comparison to the other individuals.

Section 2

On the other hand, Bennett, Wells and Freelon (2011), has commented that young generation individuals are termed as the digital natives in the media which is participatory in nature and this helps in managing along with promoting the different forms of the engagement in the public aspect. There are different studies which have been commented by Baumgartner and Morris (2009), that the young generation are not at all excited in involving themselves into politics such as volunteering their precious time into political aspects or contribution of the money on politics as they have different other type of interests which are provided with huge importance.

Conventional Measures of Young Citizens' Disengagement in Politics

Furthermore, this has been analyzed that the young generation individuals do not have interest in listening to the different news on television or read the newspaper daily in comparison to the old individuals. The main reason is that the youth in the 21st century is more into involving themselves in social media sites which they consider for entertainment source (Baumgartner and Morris, 2009).

The typical participants of the social networking sites are more into poking friends in the social networking pages and not engaging themselves in collection action of civic minded activities. Moreover, the young generation in the society are more into gossiping and not interested in voting as they do not feel like involving themselves into any such kind of political engagements.

Additionally, the entire study helped in concluding that there is no such evidence in suggesting social networking websites helps in analyzing the more knowledge on political aspects which will be helpful in managing the different kinds of aspects in an effective manner (Cohen and Kahne, 2011). On the other hand, the young citizens in the country are not exposed to different political and civic issues and therefore, there is civic deficit among the different individuals. Although, the different internet users who are young have more knowledge in engaging themselves into different internet-based activities which are political in nature.

However, on the other hand the individuals are not engaged conventionally into different other activities which is conventional in nature which emphasizes into the civic deficit. Henn, Weinstein and Forrest (2005), has commented and opined regarding the different kinds of opinions along with perceptions of the different young individuals towards their political influence. The entire survey has helped in concluding that 11% of the entire survey has concluded that the young generation individuals had influence in the different making of policies along with political aspects. On the other hand, 81% of the survey has claimed that there is no such interest of the young generation on political aspects.

Moreover, the young people themselves have tried in suggesting that the young generation in Britain think that they are consistently demoted from the different political kinds of processes, and this is powerless in influencing it. This will help in corresponding with the different politics which are focused and this helps in indicating that the young generations have commented that when the political aspects will be constant, this will fail in attracting the individuals of the generation as well. The major perception of the different youth is to analyze the overall decline in the turnout within voting aspects (Topping and Barr, 2017).

In the year 1997, the dropout of the young generation has dropped more 10% to 56% and in 2015, this has dropped further to 43%. The other issue which was being identified is civic deficit among the different individuals and their engagement into the different political aspects as well. The other issue helps in reflecting civic deficit among the young individuals towards making different decisions regarding the political aspects. Cohen and Kahne (2011), has commented that all the different politicians complain that there is no such involvement of the different young generation individuals on politics. On the other hand, the other research has stated that young citizens Are apathetic and apolitical and they do not have any engagement in political aspects.

The Perception of Young Citizens on Political Influence

Furthermore, the entire survey has commented that more than 50.9% individuals have tried to discuss regarding politics with the family members. On the other hand, Williams & Gulati (2007), has commented that wherein the national kind of politics along with interest and engagement with the same has been discussed. However, the young generation have proper knowledge on the different kinds of local affairs such as rights on animals along with HSC and same sex related marriages. Moreover, there are different other investigations which have taken place wherein the social networking sites are influencing political and democratic engagement among the different youth and they try to participate in the different kinds of affairs through media in countless manner.

Both USA and in abroad, the political and civic life is online and this helps in analyzing the number of youths who are involved in different kinds of political aspects effectively. For example- During the midterm election in the year 2016, there was huge level of engagement along with enthusiasm among the different youths on MySpace.com and Facebook.com in debating who is the most suitable kind of candidate. This helped ultimately in analyzing the increase in the number of the different supporters along with the votes. Henn, Weinstein and Forrest (2005), has commented and argued that the entire research helps in demonstrating that the different young generation individuals are disengaged from the different kinds of traditional types of political and civic life.

Therefore, from the above this can be seen and identified that the statement “policy makers and politicians are right to identify a “civic deficit” in young citizens” is contradicting in nature as the different young citizens in the politics are in different forms and not national in nature. In different countries, this has been noticed that there is no such interest which is formal in nature among the different individuals regarding the different kinds of political aspects and this is affecting the political aspects.

Conclusion

From the above, this can be concluded that “policy makers and politicians are right to identify a “civic deficit” in young citizens” has both in favor and against the viewpoints regarding the participation of the young generation in different political matters. As, this has been stated and emphasized that young generation individuals are not engaged as they feel that this has no such relevance relating to their lives and this is making the entire political aspects powerless (Henn, Weinstein and Forrest, 2005). Furthermore, this has been seen and analyzed that the civic deficit has been taken into consideration which helped in managing the interest of the different individuals towards the different kinds of aspects of politics which will be helpful for the different countries in managing the political aspects in an effective manner.

References

Baumgartner, J. and Morris, J. (2009). MyFaceTube Politics. Social Science Computer Review, 28(1), pp.24-44.

Bennett, W., Wells, C. and Freelon, D. (2011). Communicating Civic Engagement: Contrasting Models of Citizenship in the Youth Web Sphere. Journal of Communication, 61(5), pp.835-856.

Cohen, C.J. and Kahne, J. (2011). Participatory Politics. New Media and Youth Political Action. Oakland: YPP Research network. Retrieved October, 2017, 

Henn, M., Weinstein, M. and Forrest, S. (2005). Uninterested Youth? Young People's Attitudes towards Party Politics in Britain. Political Studies, 53(3), pp.556-578.

Henn, M., Weinstein, M. and Wring, D. (2002). A Generation Apart? Youth and Political Participation in Britain. The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 4(2), pp.167-192.

Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. (2008). Internet’s Broader Role in Campaign 2008.

Topping, A. and Barr, C. (2017). The received wisdom is that young people don't vote. Could that change?. 

Williams, C. and Gulati, G. (2007). Social networks in political campaigns: Facebook and the 2006 midterm elections. Annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, 1(11), pp.49-62.

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My Assignment Help. The Civic Deficit In Young Citizens: Exploring Engagement In Politics [Internet]. My Assignment Help. 2020 [cited 19 June 2024]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/pols140-the-global-citizen/politics-and-learning.html.

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