How People Engage in Politics Online

The Internet is playing an increasingly important role in communicating politics and in promoting political commitment among citizens. It offers new opportunities for information, communication and participation, which are used in a variety of ways, especially by young people. Through better information and participation opportunities, citizens could help shape all areas of life more actively and thus strengthen citizen-friendly democracy.

 

However, the development of Internet use to date also shows the danger of a “digital split” in society due to a growing gap between users and non-users. This development can create or intensify social inequalities, as educational level, social status and gender affiliation decide on information and political participation opportunities.

There is a wide range of political activities on the Internet online magazines, Internet portals and information sites. Many politically relevant documents can be viewed or downloaded by interested citizens.

Internet and political engagement of young people

The Internet is particularly important for the political engagement of the young generation . This is shown by the results of the various Shell studies , in which, with the help of representative surveys, the understanding of politics and the forms of political participation of young people between the ages of 15 and 25 are regularly researched.

An important result was the tendency towards disaffection with the parties of the young people, the majority of whom do not want to get involved in traditional large organizations. One of the main reasons is that the associated hierarchical, rigid structures, bureaucratization and inflexibility are rejected. In addition, there is a great deal of skepticism about party-political and ideological ties and restrictions.

The internet allows communication without time or space restrictions and defies traditional hierarchies and authorities.

In the public communication rooms of the virtual communities, all interested parties to speak and discuss with each other. The establishment of political initiatives and the initiation of political activities becomes possible without being involved in bureaucratic organizational structures (e.g. parties). Political actions can be targeted to current events or specific topics.

Despite the special communication and organizational possibilities of the Internet, it remains difficult to influence “real politics”. For the effectiveness of political influence, for example, it is crucial to establish a concrete connection between the virtual and real world.

The Internet is not only used for peaceful contact and tolerant communication

It can also support violent actions and provide a forum for content that is politically or morally questionable or prohibited (e.g. violations of the protection of minors, racism, political extremism). In addition, there are specific forms of Internet crime that are linked to the possibilities of the new medium.

Combating these phenomena is often difficult because the Internet crosses national borders and thus severely restricts the options for political intervention and control. The development of the Internet and its use so far shows that the euphoric hopes for comprehensive democratization have not been fulfilled, but political processes can be more transparent and new information, communication and participation opportunities have emerged like with water damage restoration corona ca for emergency water needs.

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