English title: The Effect of Internet Use on Political Participation : An Analysis of Survey Results for 16-Year-Olds in Belgium

Author(s): Ellen Quintelier - Sara Vissers -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2008


Conflicting claims have been put forward regarding the effects of Internet use on real-life political participation. Some argue that Internet use, and the accompanying political resources, stimulates political participation; others fear that intensive Internet use is associated with a withdrawal from public life. This article’s authors test both claims on a representative sample of 6,330 16-year-olds in Belgium. They investigate young people’s behavior, assuming that young people are the most avid information and communication technologies users and the most susceptible to the influence of various socialization experiences. The authors introduce a distinction between time spent on the Internet (time-replacement hypothesis) and various activities performed online. Results show time on the Internet does not have an effect on the propensity to participate in public life. Although some online activities are clearly and significantly associated with offline political participation, it remains to be investigated whether this relation is a form of causality.

Volume: 26

Issue: 4

From page no: 411

To page no: 427

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1177/0894439307312631

Journal: Social science computer review

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