This article and video is from Spotlight on Digital Media and Learning
Produced by Ben Wolff
Research by education professor Joe Kahne shows online experiences—such as participation on fan sites—can help make kids more active offline citizens.
Joe Kahne, professor of education at Mills College and director of the school’s Civic Engagement Research Group, has studied the connection between students’ participation with digital media and their level of civic engagement. He finds that kids who participate in community activities online are more likely to later get involved with civic actions offline, even if their online activities appear to be only social or for fun.
Kahne notes that young people who use digital media are picking up skills on how to find, assess and share information. New media provides opportunities for young people to be active participants—as opposed to old media, such as newspapers, which provide learning opportunities but no way to immediately share or add input.
More good news: Kahne also found that participation in online communities doesn’t isolate or distract young people from other forms of social life.