Digital media are an important part of young people’s everyday culture. There is hardly any separation between offline and online. Especially through mobile media such as the smartphone, these worlds are merging. In the familiar and newly created free spaces, young people try things out, make new friends, develop and share interests. Communication and friendship in everyday life is not replaced, but expanded.
Today, it is easier than ever to publish your own opinions and self-designed content. Whether on fashion blogs, gaming sites or YouTube – young people can try out digital spaces and test out how they come across. You can find like-minded people across spatial and social boundaries. Their use of media is fast-moving and their fascination with certain offerings is not always easy to understand: what is exciting today may be boring tomorrow. Interest also depends on what other peers think is great. In addition to hip apps and certain music, the latest series on Netflix is one of them.
For you as a parent, it is particularly difficult to muster understanding when, for example, depictions of violence, horror and splatter films or soft porn are consumed on the net. Much of the content is not always age-appropriate and difficult for young people to assess in terms of its impact. But they want to test their limits. In their digital spaces, the boundaries can be very diverse. In addition to watching certain movies, this can also be contacting people you don’t know. If, for example, contact with the unknown person suddenly becomes unpleasant or the intimate photo suddenly circulates among friends, this can have serious consequences.
It is a difficult task for you as parents to find the right way here. Protect your children from potential dangers, but also encourage autonomous and creative use of digital media.