Spaces for public orientation? Longitudinal effects of Internet use in adolescence

Mats Ekström, Tobias Olsson, Adam Shehata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (SciVal)


The article departs from an overarching research question: How does young people's engagement in different Internet spaces affect the development of their public orientation during adolescence? It analyses longitudinal panel data in order to explore how young people's public orientation develops during a phase in life (13–20) which is critical for political socialization. Data are derived from three waves of data collection among young people who were 13–17 years old at the time for the first data collection. The concept public orientation is measured by three indicators: young people's values, interests and everyday peer talk. These indicators are analysed with reference to respondents' Internet orientations, which we conceptualize as four separate but inter-related spaces (a news space, a space for social interaction, a game space and a creative space). The results primarily emphasize the importance of orientations towards news space and space for social interaction. Overall, the findings strongly suggest that orientations towards these spaces are related to adolescents' public orientation. The findings confirm the centrality of news and information in political socialization, but they also challenge the idea that social media facilities – such as Facebook, Twitter and blogging – enable forms of social interaction and creative production that have an overall positive impact on young people's public orientation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-183
JournalInformation, Communication & Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Media and Communications


  • young people
  • politics
  • ICTs news
  • social media


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