Reaching Millennials: Youth and the Internet

Mom and Dad might set the curfew, but who has the most influence when it comes to environmental information in most homes? Research by The Ocean Project and others has shown that parents consider their teens and tweens to be the most knowledgeable and environmentally conscious members of the family.
Young people wield a great deal of control over environmental actions taken in most households, but their influence doesn’t stop there. Studies show that young people know and care more about ocean, climate change and other related issues and are more willing to take action on these issues than adults. They have the free time, passion, and information to make lasting change.

The two-year theme for World Oceans Day 2011 and 2012 focuses on Youth: the Next Wave for Change. Connecting with youth across a generational divide, however, can be difficult for some organizations. Below, we’ve gathered some of the best online resources for reaching out to and mobilizing this promising and action-ready group of people. To see a full list of our strategies for reaching youth, click here.

Reaching Youth over the Internet

Young people are using the internet more than ever, particularly for connecting with their peers through sites like Facebook. 73% of teens online have profiles on a social networking site.

An ongoing study by Youth & Participatory Politics indicates that even “extracurricular” (not explicitly academic or action-oriented) internet fosters later civic and political engagement in youth. Here are some great toolkits and whitepapers we’ve collected to help you utilize this exciting avenue of communication with young people.

·  The Center for Communication & Civic Engagement Inventory of Online Youth Civic Engagement Resources
A guide for the wide range of online projects dedicated to youth engagement for civic practitioners and scholars.

·  Civic Life Online: Learning How Digital Media Can Engage Youth — A MacArthur Study

This study investigates the participatory aspects of online digital media through case studies, discusses the connection between individual expression and public opinion, and outlines exercises for developing a public voice through online mediums. 

·  Hershey|Cause online guide outreach tools

A basic but informative toolkit summarizing the pros and cons of different internet outreach tools and how they may assist your organization. 

If your organization wants to make lasting change through action, young people are a group you won’t regret reaching out to. The effort it takes to get young people involved will be more than repaid by the drive and energy they bring with them to climate and ocean conservation.

Posted in Communications Research, Social media, World Oceans Day, Youth.

Alyssa Isakower

Alyssa has consulted for The Ocean Project coordinating World Oceans Day since 2011 and is more excited for June 8th every year! She is interested in all things social media, and has been thrilled to work with partners of The Ocean Project around the world on exciting conservation outreach, both on the ground and online.

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