Research

Today’s teens are more socially conscious than any prior generation (Cone 2006). They want to change the world and consider climate change and environment a priority (TOP 2009). But they recognize to foster change they need support. As Jasmine, a Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG) College First student, said, “They’re always, ‘you can do it, nothing’s stopping you.’ But you need supports—money-wise, big corporations, and people to help out.” Cultural institutions could provide that support. However, museums have not traditionally engaged in social change efforts; their teen programs typically focus on education—teaching to state and federal standards. Yet youth and families trust museums (IMLS 2008) and look to them for recommendations on environmental actions they can take (TOP 2009). 

Museums could use this trust to support social change among teens through social media. Recent studies (Rainie et al. 2011, NCoC 2009) found that youth use social technology for civic purposes, and there is a strong correlation between users of social media and volunteerism. Although museums and zoos typically receive low visitation from ages 14-19, 93% of teens 12-17 go online (Lenhart et al. 2010). This group averages 15 hours a week on the internet, and top activities are watching videos and social networking (Flanagin & Metzger 2010). Teens from low income families, a target audience for many museums, are most likely to use social network sites (Lenhart et al. 2010). 

Teens use a variety of online tools, but, with mentoring, those tools can be a means to make their communications more powerful and outcome-oriented. YouthMuse’s museum, zoo and aquarium partners recognize that successful students need excellent communication skills in today’s media-driven environment. They also see, in these times of changing demographics and heightened community expectations, museums need to demonstrate increased relevance (Janes 2009); providing support for social change could be that “new” relevance.


Aaker, Jennifer. 2010. The Dragonfly Effect: Harnessing Social Media to Drive Social Change. 

Allensworth, Elaine. 2014. Numbers That Count: Chicago School Policy Forum. 

Aw, Dr. James. 2011. Art for Life's Sake: The Health Benefits of CultureNational Post.

Borick, Chris and Barry Rabe. June 11, 2012.  Continued Rebound in American Belief in Climate Change: Spring 2012 NSAPOCC Findings. Governance Studies at Brookings.

Calderon, Valerie J. October 13, 2011. U.S. Students' Entrepreneurial Energy Waiting to be Tapped. Gallup-HOPE Index.

Carfagna, Lindsay. September 14, 2014. Beyond Learning-As-Usual: Connected Learning Among Open Learners. Digital Media and Learning Research Hub. 

Cohen, Cathy J. and Joseph Kahn. June 26, 2012. New Media and Youth Political Action. Youth and Participatory Politics Report.

Cohen, Jackie. 2011. Study: Millennials Prefer Facebook Politicking.

Common Sense Media. 2012. Children, Teens, and Entertainment Media: The View From The Classroom. A Common Sense Media Research Study.

Cone, Inc. 2006. The 2006 Cone Millennial Cause Study. The Millennial Generation: Pro-Social and Empowered to Change the World. 

Cone, Inc. 2009. 2009 Consumer Environmental Survey. Consumer Interest in Environmental Purchasing Not Eclipsed by Poor Economy.

Conner, Jerusha. December 17, 2012. The Value of Youth Organizing. Kinder & Braver World Project: Research Series. Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. 

Costanza-Chock, Sasha. December 17, 2012. Youth and Social Movements: Key Lessons for Allies. Kinder & Braver World Project: Research Series. Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. 

Cross-Bystrom, Angela. August 20, 2010. What you need to know about Generation Z. iMedia Connection. 

Damerell, P., C. Howe, and E.J. Milner-Gulland. 2013. Child-oriented environmental education influences adult knowledge and household behavior. Environmental Research Letters doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/8/1/015016

Demos. November 2, 2011. The State of Young America: Economic Barriers to the American Dream.

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ecoAmerica. 2013. New Facts, Old Myths: Environmental Polling Trends.

EuroRSCG Worldwide. 2010. Millennials and Social Media

Henry, Amy. 2011. Five Myths About the Youth Market: Busted. MarketingProfs.

Ho, Ping. December 17, 2012. Positive Development and Social Change Through the Arts. Kinder & Braver World Project: Research Series. Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. 

Flanagin, Andrew J., and Miriam J. Metzger. 2010. Kids and Credibility, an Empirical Examination of Youth, Digital Media Use., and Information Credibility. MIT Press.

Gasser, Urs; Sandra Cortesi; Momin Malik; Ashley Lee. "Youth and Digital Media: From Credibility to Information Quality" (February 16, 2012). Berkman Center Research Publication No. 2012-1.

Georgetown University Center for Social Impact Communication. 2011. Men and Women Differ in Causes They Support on Social Media.

Hout, Michael; Elliot, Stuart. 2011. Incentives and Test-Based Accountability in Public Education.

IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Service). 2008. Nine to Nineteen: Youth in Museums and Libraries: A Practitioner's Guide

James Irvine Foundation. October 2011. Alan S. Brown, Jennifer L. Novak-Leonard, Shelly Gilbride. Getting In On the Act: How Arts Groups Are Creating Opportunities for Active Participation. 

Janes, Robert R. 2009. Museums in a Troubled World: Renewal, Irrelevance, or Collapse? New York: Routledge.

Jenkins, Henry. 2006. Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st CenturyBuilding the Field of Digital Media and Learning. MacArthur Foundation.

Kahne, Joseph, Ellen Middaugh and Danielle Allen. 2014. Youth, New Media and the Rise of Participatory Politics.

Khadaroo, Stacy. 2011. Does Facebook boost civic engagement among American youths, too?. The Christian Science Monitor.

Larson, Reed. 2011. Good youth programs help teens learn to think not just logically, but strategically.

Leighninger, Matt. 2011. Vitalizing Democracy Through Participation. BertelsmannStiftung. 

Lenhart, Amanda; Kristen Purcell; Aaron Smith; and Kathryn Zickuhr. 2010. Social Media & Mobile Internet Use Among Teens and Young Adults. Pew Research Center, Pew Internet and American Life Project. 

Lenhart, Amanda; Joseph Kahne; Ellen Middaugh; Alexander Rankin Macgill; Chris Evans; Jessica Vitak. 2008. Teens, Video Games and Civics. Pew Research Center, Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Krygsman, Kirra; Speiser, Meighen. 2014. American Climate Values 2013: Insights by Racial and Ethnic Groups. Strategic Business Insights and ecoAmerica. 

 Middaugh, Ellen; Kahne, Joseph. 2009. Online Localities: Implications for Democracy and Education. Mills College.

Middaugh, Ellen. January 2012. Service & Activism in the Digital Age: Supporting Youth Engagement in Public Life. Civic Engagement Research Group, Mills College.

NCoC (National Conference on Citizenship). 2009. America's Civic Health Index 2009: Civic Health in Hard Times

Nielsen. 2011. Teen Media Behavior; Texting, Talking, Socializing, TV Watching, Mobilizing.

Nielsen. June 22, 2011. Demographics Outside 25-54-Yr-Olds Hold Potential.

NSF Task Force on Cyberlearning. June 24, 2008.  Fostering Learning in the Networked World: The Cyberlearning Opportunity and Challenge.

Pew Research Center. February 2010. Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next.

Pew Research Center. November 2011. The Generation Gap and the 2012 Election: Angry Silents, Disengaged Millennials. 

Pew Research Center. February 2012. Young, Underemployed, and Optimistic: Coming of Age, Slowly, in a Tough Economy.

Powers, Cara Berg and Erin Allaman. December 17, 2012. How Participatory Action Research Can Promote Social Change and HElp Youth DevelopmentKinder & Braver World Project: Research Series. Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. 

Purcell, Kristen. July 11, 2012. Teens 2012: Truth, Trends, and Myths About Teen Online Behavior.

Purcell, Kristen. November 1, 2012. How Teens Do Research in the Digital World. Pew Research Center, Pew Internet and American Life.

Prosper Insights and Analytics. "Happiest Generation." March 2013. 

Rainie, Lee; Aaron Smith; and Kristen Purcell. 2011. Social Side of the Internet. Pew Research Center, Pew Internet and American Life. 

Rheingold, Howard.  2008. Using Participatory Media and Public Voice to Encourage Civic Engagement. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Rosenstiel, Rom; Amy Mitchell; Kristen Purcell; and Lee Rainie. September 26, 2011. How People Learn About Their Local Community. Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Saratovsky, Kari and Derrick Feldmann. 2013. Cause for Change: The Why and how of Nonprofit Millennial Engagement

Shapiro, Tom; Peter Linett; Betty Farrell; and Will Anderson. October 2012. Campus Art Museums in the 21st Century: A Conversation. Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago.

Singer, Peter W.; Heather L. Messera; Brendan Orino. 2011. D.C.’s New Guard: What Does the Next Generation of American Leaders Think? The Brookings Institution. 

Schulman, Sarah. November 2006. Terms of Engagement: Aligning Youth, Adults and Organizations Toward Social Change.  

Sweeney, Richard T. 2011. Sweeney Millennial Research Summary. New Jersey Institute of Technology.

The Ocean Project. 2009. America, the Ocean, and Climate Change: Key Findings

The Ocean Project. "Reaching Millennials: Youth and the Internet."

The Ocean Project. Market Research Findings FAQ: Youth

Thomson, Kristen; Kristin Purcell; and Lee Rainie. January 4, 2013. Arts Organizations and Digital Technologies. Pew Research Center. Pew Internet and American Life. 

Twenge, J. M.; W. K. Campbell, and E.C. Freeman (2012, March 5). Generational Differences in Young Adults' Life Goals, Concern for Others, and Civic Orientation, 1966–2009. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

Watkins, Craig. 2011. What Should Civil Learning Look Like in an Age of Social and Technological Change?. DML central.

 

Guides

Youth in Museums and Libraries: A Practitioner's Guide

A Guide for Engaging Youth in Leadership and Decision-Making in Service-Learning Programs

Building Effective Youth Councils

Generation On: What Youth Can Do (Begin at page 32) 

Youth Issues, Youth Voices: A Guide for Engaging Youth and Adults in Public Dialogue and Problem-Solving

The Green Street Guide to Authentic Youth Engagement

A Resource for Involving Young People in Decision Making (New Zealand Ministry of Social Development)

Youth Participatory Evaluation

Are you creating space for youth to use in your museum? Check out this handbook.