Text by Mr. JOHANNES STRATER, GERMANY
" This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the life of ease." - Robert Kennedy
Youth is one of the most important chapters in a life. This transition between childhood and adulthood involves biological, social, and psychological changes. Young people come of age, bolt out of old and known structures, and start giving their life a unique course. Young people want to become independent and explore life and themselves in all facets.
In this phase, the most important questions of future life arrive at a decision. Young people are going to school, graduating, preparing for their future career.
Youths often feel misunderstood thinking that no one cares in any way about their problems and troubles, that no one is on their side. On one hand they want to be understood, but on the other hand they also want to stand their ground independently.
Young people pursue their goals and desires with great enthusiasm, work forcefully for their future or they slide into subcultures, living a more independent and free life than ever before; without pressure, without demands from other people.
But they want to be heard and they should get the chance! For decades, people were becoming aware of the desires and the right of youths to be integrated into politics and in the sections of “decision-making” and they started integrating them into this world. Organizations like the European Youth Parliament or the International Youth Leadership Conference were founded; hundreds of other organizations followed. These came from all areas: from politics, the environmental sector, and from the media.
“Media” plays a very important role in a young life. Television, magazines, comic books influence youths crucially, providing them with fashion tips and life settings, with ideas and theoretically unattainable ideals of beauty. On the other hand, the Internet as the central medium of the 21st Century states a central point in the media reception of youths. The world is growing together through social networks. But everyone, and especially the young generation, is very receptive to it. Nearly all the offers on the internet are mainly consumed rather than produced by the target group of youths. This is an instance we are trying to understand and explain during this and all the past and future Summits. All the participants should show the correct behavior in their own example, and bring all that they have learned during the Summit to their communities.
For this Summit, the Youth issue has been declared to be the central point of a related network of the other topics. Youth interacts with all other issues directly. Among them is the obvious connection to Violence, as well as Poverty, Health and Discrimination. The field of Youth will be extended this year. It has been made an interdisciplinary issue on purpose – in order for it to work “hand-in-hand” with all the other participants, because we are all concerned with this issue.
In recent years, it was often spoken about the special nature of the media, and the opportunity that the media can open up for young people. Since the main point of the Summit is to educate the participants to become media-literate young people, we want to have a closer look on the media itself. The focus has always been lacking at one point: the problems which could occur when young people interact in media spaces. Media should not only be understood as an opportunity, but also as a risk.
The computer and the Internet is young people's main interacting room - virtual meetings become more important than the real ones. Social life accounts and access to society can be difficult. Young people reveal their innermost thoughts and secrets in networks and offer their whole identity to an uncountable amount of unknown people; they forget that a person should keep some things private. Youths can be discriminated, forced into depression, they can loose access to reality - media becomes a hideaway, a world in the world. Media consumption is a subculture. The focus of this year’s Summit moves to the problems and the potential risks of the media. It is a particular point which is connected with all the other issues and needs to be discussed thoroughly.
IT IS NOT BECAUSE THINGS ARE DIFFICULT THAT WE DO NOT DARE IT IS BECAUSE WE DO NOT DARE THAT THINGS ARE DIFFICULT
Text by Mr. JOHANNES STRATER, GERMANY