Date of Publication

12-9-2015

Degree Type

Honors Thesis

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Dr Robert Mejia, Assistant Professor, Communication

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to determine the effects that new media, including social media and the mobile internet, have had on teenagers by examining youth ministry. Research is conducted in the field of communication on the subject, but the majority of the information comes from personal interviews with youth ministry leaders. These individuals are either program leaders at a specific church or are on staff with the youth ministry organization called Young Life. James Carey’s two definitions of communication, ritual and transmission, will be used to analyze the information gathered through the interviews and the research. Technology has been affecting religion since the dawn humanity. One of the more prominent examples is the printing press, which was first used to print a bible and later played a role in the Protestant Reformation. When the United States of America was born, religious diversity was a cornerstone, and that is still true today. However, church attendance and the number of people claiming to be religious has declined drastically in recent times. At a time when religion is losing influence in America, new media have come into play. Social media and mobile internet have had a significant impact on culture, particularly on generation z, which includes anyone born after 1995. These young people have grown up in the digital age, but how has that affected them? An analysis of youth ministry, a sector that is based on social relationships between leaders and students, provides an interesting perspective on how teenagers have been affected by these new media.

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