By Evangelia Petsa,
It is a fact that a characteristic of young nature has always been the strong tendency for communication, exchange of ideas, and socialization, which they even seek with excessive zeal. Their need is supported and guided in the modern era by technology, the internet, and especially social media. These media are varied and differ in terms of the way users communicate and connect, and their operation, but there are more and more rearrangements. However, particularly popular networks today are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter which are an integral element of young identity, performing a controversial function and causing upheavals in intergenerational relationships. For this reason, it is considered necessary to examine the causes of their spread and to look for ways of approaching the two generations through the internet.
Initially, the great appeal of social media is due to the impressive possibilities they offer for communication, information, and entertainment. As far as communication is concerned, this is economical since the young person is not charged extra, but is charged only for the provision of internet services, and very fast, especially for the young person who lives in stress pressure rates. At the same time, communication has the characteristic of immediacy similar to that of spoken language and vitality, an element of youthful nature.
Undoubtedly, social media are new meeting places for young people where they share and exchange photos, texts, songs, and videos. Thus, they help to open communication between teenagers who have difficulty in face-to-face communication. As they express their thoughts and feelings, they satisfy the need for understanding from their interlocutors in this difficult age period of their lives. In fact, this communication goes beyond narrow geographical boundaries and expands to a global level, contributing to the concept of cosmopolitanism, particularly attractive to young people who are looking for unprecedented experiences with the help of new technological applications. Furthermore, the flexibility and practical nature of the applications enable young people to participate in the commons with various interventions and initiatives, such as the choice to participate in the Youth Parliament, which is now electronic, volunteering movements, and in general activities that satisfy the competitive nature of young people.
At the same time, the use of social media is linked to the young person’s relationship with educational institutions. As young people are cognitively superior in the use of these electronic media, they are their refuge, a means of differentiating them from the world of adults, and a means of independence from those who tend to demonize the internet. However, in several cases, through this, they cover the lack of communication with their parents due to their long absence from home. In an era where young people in their majority do not watch news bulletins, do not read newspapers, this gap is filled to a point through social networks where they are informed about serious social issues. Finally, their choices are not unrelated to economic interests that take advantage of the inexperience of young people and by baiting technology they try to attract the young consumer public.
Therefore, the special relationship of young people with social networking media and the possibilities they offer is noticeable. Nevertheless, their intense use creates a “digital divide” between them and adults that proportionally widens the generation gap. But this can be mitigated under certain conditions.
A first action would be to introduce parents to the world of social media. With a good mood as a necessary prerequisite, young people need to explain the possibilities they offer and then teach them how they can use them. So parents will be able to control the activity of children in these media and they will be able to protect them. Instead of treating social media as something unknown and possessed by technophobic syndromes, it would be good to get familiar with it and participate with young people in groups with common activities, which will help to strengthen relationships with their children. At the same time, they can benefit doubly since this will be an incentive to use them in their professional activities.
On the other hand, rational use by both parents and young people is necessary. Parents, aware that the internet carries risks, would do well to abandon didacticism and moralizing and the resulting friction with young people and establish a relationship of trust and mutual assistance regarding the use of social media. Such an attitude will generally smooth out the parent-child relationship, which is particularly tense during youth. At the same time, young people who are in the phase of destabilizing the standard of parental authority without it being accompanied by their corresponding mental and moral maturation should realize that the question of comparison between the computer and the essential relationship with their parents does not arise. Technical knowledge is useful but can be dangerous if it is not outmoded by the lessons of life that the computer cannot provide.
Realizing the dynamic nature of new technologies with their ever-expanding applications, both young people and adults, guided by rationality, must take advantage of them without compromising the irreplaceable parent-child relationship