YOU*TH Relationships in the Context of New Media

Within the topic of social media, our goal in NESEHNUTÍ is to provide young people with information on the close connections between online and offline relationships, and we do so using positive emotions and experiences. We aim at helping them find and identify their own inner beliefs, motivations, and determination to set boundaries and to articulate their own needs and opinions without violating the boundaries, needs, and emotions of others

Facilitator Team, NESEHNUTÍ

In our workshops focused on young people’s relationships and sex education, we often came across the fact that young people spend a large part of their days on the Internet, searching for information, having fun, meeting each other as well as breaking up. At the same time, they hardly communicate about this part of their lives with teachers at school.

The topic of social media is currently nothing innovative or surprising in itself. There is a lot of talk about new media and social networks and they accompany the lives of each and every one of us at a certain level. Paradoxically, this is not the case in the school environment. When this topic comes up, it is almost always viewed only from the point of view of prohibition or prevention of adverse effects.  The Internet is often presented primarily as a mysterious place full of pitfalls. At the same time, we all probably know that intimidation does not work very well as a tool for prevention.

  • The Generation Z, that was born into the world of easily available Internet, views social networks as an integral part of their normal life.
  • Young people use them to communicate, make contacts, learn, express their creativity, or to create and build their identity.
  • The borders between the real material world and the virtual world are increasingly blurred and these two categories are no longer seen as separate by young people, but as intertwining areas. 

In conducting our workshops with young people, collaborating with collectives of young people, as well as in our daily lives, we reflect that the world of young people has largely moved into the online environment. If we want to address young people’s relationships honestly, we cannot omit new media or social media.

We find it extremely useful for teachers and school counselors for prevention activities to look under the hood / behind the screen of what their pupils/students do in the online world, to open up space to discuss these issues, and to enable young people to articulate and share their feelings and needs in this area. 

That is why we decided to focus on social media through the lens of relationships. Among other things, we used a questionnaire distributed among young people via social networks, to guide us towards the attributes which they consider truly important, what they enjoy, or what bothers them on social networks. Two main aspects have emerged from this process and we decided to focus our work on these aspects.

For each aspect, we have developed a set of three methods. They can be used as a set in a day-long program or each method separately.