Can Facebook Informational Use Foster Adolescent Civic Engagement?

Michela Lenzi, Alessio Vieno, Gianmarco Altoè, Luca Scacchi, Douglas D. Perkins, Rita Zukauskiene, Massimo Santinello

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    10 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The findings on the association between Social Networking Sites and civic engagement are mixed. The present study aims to evaluate a theoretical model linking the informational use of Internet-based social media (specifically, Facebook) with civic competencies and intentions for future civic engagement, taking into account the mediating role of civic discussions with family and friends and sharing the news online. Participants were 114 Italian high school students aged 14–17 years (57 % boys). Path analysis was used to evaluate the proposed theoretical model. Results showed that Facebook informational use was associated with higher levels of adolescent perceived competence for civic action, both directly and through the mediation of civic discussion with parents and friends (offline). Higher levels of civic competencies, then, were associated with a stronger intention to participate in the civic domain in the future. Our findings suggest that Facebook may provide adolescents with additional tools through which they can learn civic activities or develop the skills necessary to participate in the future.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)444-454
    Number of pages11
    JournalAmerican Journal of Community Psychology
    Volume55
    Issue number3-4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2015

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    Keywords

    • Adolescence
    • Civic engagement
    • Facebook
    • Path analysis
    • Positive youth development
    • Social media networks

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
    • Applied Psychology
    • Health(social science)

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