Declining youth participation in civic affairs has raised the issue of youth disengagement. This paper explores the use of web-based and social networking technologies for the purpose of engaging young people in civic affairs to better inform government decision making. It is based on a field study in two regions of NSW where young people (aged 9-18) participated in an experimental online consultation about youth projects to be funded by the Department of Community Services (DoCS). Several strategies for youth engagement and consultation were implemented and tested including an online interactive game, social networking technologies, local radio and TV, and school newsletters announcements. The findings question the youth disengagement thesis and demonstrate that purposefully-designed and carefully targeted engagement strategies – in both electronic and physical spaces – do attract and engage young people in Government decision making. The paper discusses the challenges of youth online participation and concludes with suggestions for future research.
Cecez-Kecmanovic, Dubravka; Kennan, Mary Anne; Hull, Daryll; and Ngam, Fouad, "Youth Participation in a Government Program: Challenges in E-Democracy" (2009). ACIS 2009 Proceedings. 33.