More young people are opting to participate in demonstrations such as the Occupy and Black Lives Matter movements, as well as political consumerism in which they either buy or boycott companies' products according to whether they share those companies' values, Shah said.
News organizations must try to engage millennials in conversation to further reach and interest them in politics, Shah said.
Although there has been a shift from newspapers and nightly news to phones, laptops and tablets as sources of political information, children still model their parents. The studies found that in earlier adolescence, parents matter more in whether a child reads the news and talks about politics.
As a child grows older and more independent, their peers and social media become more important, Edgerly said.
In the past, families played the largest role in the political socialization of young people.
In the 2008 study, the group found that young people adopted the party affiliation of their parents 65 percent of the time, especially if parents had strong opinions or talked about politics, Edgerly said.
As the 2016 election cycle approaches, the group presented its research at the New Media for New Voters forum that was co-hosted by MU's Political Communication Institute.
Dhavan Shah, Leticia Bode, Emily Vraga, Stephanie Edgerly and Chris Wells began their research in 2008.
Social media posts should encourage people to talk, share ideas and answer questions.
Journalists also need to rethink how young people consume news, Shah said.