New study on how young people form their political opinions in social media

Today, opinions are also increasingly formed with and in digital media. This is supported by the fact that the Internet is becoming increasingly important for children at an earlier age. It is therefore reasonable to assume that young people's political opinion-forming increasingly takes place in social media. The JFF - Institute for Media Education has now presented a study that provides an overview of the scientific debate on the topic and identifies questions that are still unanswered.

The study"Politische Meinungsbildung Jugendlicher in sozialen Medien" (Political Opinion Formation of Young People in Social Media) first presents important foundations and models from various fields of research (e.g., social psychology, media effects research, political science) for understanding opinion formation in social media. The resulting impulses are then made accessible for media pedagogical research and practice. In the process, questions are also identified that can serve as possible starting points for further research. In addition to the state of the literature, findings from the currently running JFF projects Politisches Bildhandeln and MeKriF - Flucht als Krise are also included where they already provide a more differentiated insight.

The study is divided into three parts. Part 1 first discusses conceptual foundations on the central concepts of "opinion formation," "politics," and "social media." Part 2 is devoted to the various existing research approaches to opinion formation as well as the changes that accompany social media. Finally, Part 3 presents findings from selected studies that shed more light on various aspects of the process of opinion formation. The study concludes with a conclusion that identifies unanswered questions as starting points for further research.

The entire study can be downloaded as a PDF version here.

The sponsor of the JFF - Institute for Media Education in Research and Practice is the non-profit association "JFF - Jugend Film Fernsehen e.V.". Members of the association are representatives from media science and media education, educational and cultural institutions as well as from domestic and foreign media institutions.

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