Asian youths are embracing communication technologies at a burgeoning rate, yet interesting differences in Internet access and use exist among this younger generation. Our empirical investigation provides a rich and comparative look into what Asian youths do online, with an emphasis on an understudied area: their civic uses of new media. Data collected among youths aged between 12 and 17 in Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, and Tokyo in 2007 show that this 'digital generation' has grown up with computers and the Internet, with 96% of them being internet users, and having 6 years of computer experience on average. Our results suggest that the Internet may facilitate citizenship among Asian youths although entertainment-related activities such as downloading music or playing games remain the most popular activities online. Sixty-five percent of them read online news, almost half of them have ever cast a vote on the Internet, and every one in five has signed an online petition. Differences in Internet usage and civic behaviors among youths in five cities are presented, suggesting the contextual nature of Internet use influenced by civic culture.The paper concludes with a discussion of differences in Internet use among Asian youths between 2001 and 2007, together with research implications for better understanding this population.
- East Asia
- civic engagement
- positive youth development
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science