Digital Media and Civic Engagement

Empowering Youths

Our Partnership

The University of Denver's Lynn Schofield Clark worked alongside partners from Wake Forest University and other institutions to explore the effects of certain forms of internet use, particularly social media, on youth civic engagement. The understanding and ingenuity achieved through collaboration is essential as we work to understand youth development and promote policies and solutions that can lead to positive outcomes.

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We leverage cross-institutional collaboration to address some of today’s most pressing challenges, producing interdisciplinary solutions that influence policymakers to effectively serve the public good. From Stanford to UChicago to NYU, we’ve refined our collaborative process through years of mutually beneficial relationships with institutions nationwide to understand and address challenges like climate change, HIV and youth homelessness.

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  • exploring the effects of felony disenfranchisement.
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  • using theatre to heal and rehabilitate inmates.

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About the Project

While research on the social dimensions of adolescent technology use tends to focus on identifying and preventing risk, there's a great deal of unexplored territory regarding how technology affects the rapidly expanding capacities, expectations of autonomy and identity exploration inherent to adolescence. This project specifically focused on how different aspects of technology use impact youth civic engagement.

Previous research has found that civic engagement during adolescence is a significant factor for adult civic engagement, and tends to generally promote positive developmental outcomes. It's also been determined that certain forms of internet use, such as information seeking and participation in online communities, promote civic engagement. This, combined with the importance of digital tools for general youth empowerment, suggests a need for increased efforts toward promoting digital media competencies and greater coordination of research on adolescent risk, autonomy and empowerment related to internet use.

This project was a collaboration between researchers at the University of Denver, Wake Forest University and San Jose State University.

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Lynn Schofield Clark

In addition to her role as a professor at DU's Department of Media, Film, and Journalism Studies, Lynn Schofield Clark also serves as Director of the Estlow International Center for Journalism New Media. Her research interests center on the myriad ways in which consumption of media in the 21st century—particularly local journalism and digital media—influence identity and self-determination in individuals and groups. Her work tackles the role of media in an age of growing income inequality, especially in regard to media consumption by youth.We’re dedicated to finding opportunities to direct our research ecosystem toward collaboration with partners who share our goal of supporting the common good. Our research collaborations results in projects that produce technological advances and support vulnerable populations.

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