When was German mediatization unknown?

Youth and media

The social web is becoming increasingly important in the everyday life of children and young people. It opens up a wide range of new communicative spaces for experience and action, but it also harbors various risks.


Post-war generation "," baby boomers "," generation golf "- there are numerous catchwords with which one tries to characterize individual generations. As a result of increasing mediatization, these catchwords in recent times often refer to the development of media: Already early it was the "television generation", later the "Windows generation", the "net generation" or, more recently, the "digital natives". These terms indicate that large parts of a generation are affected by a certain media phenomenon and differ in this from previous generations. Beyond this general concern, however, such labels say nothing about the status of the phenomenon in the respective lifeworld, let alone how the members of this generation behave towards the medium, what they use it for and what consequences this use is sometimes associated with is.

The media phenomenon currently in the foreground of public attention, which is seen as a characteristic feature of today's adolescents, is the so-called social web, to which in particular social network platforms such as "Sch├╝lerVZ" or "Facebook" as well as video platforms such as "YouTube" can be assigned. The following remarks provide an overview of the findings on how young people deal with the Internet in general and the social web in particular, as well as the associated opportunities and risks.

Since the younger generation is often assigned a pioneering status with regard to the development of media use, numerous studies deal with the media handling of this age group. However, an overview is made more difficult by a double dynamic: On the one hand, the way the media is handled changes very quickly in childhood and adolescence; Within a few months, there are sometimes serious shifts in preferences and ways of use, which is why the exact age of the adolescents in the various studies must be taken into account. On the other hand, the rapid changes on the level of the transmission channels, the technical end devices and the media and communication services offered must be taken into account, which means that within a few months offers in the media repertoires of young people take on a decisive role that were previously completely unknown. Services that social web have only played a role since the mid-2000s. The "Twitter" service, which is omnipresent in public discourse today, was only developed in 2006.

In the foreground of the following overview are some current studies, which complement each other in terms of their particular information and the age groups examined. Reference is primarily made to the current findings of the most recent "JIM study" (on 12 to 19 year olds in Germany) and the Europe-wide study "EU Kids Online II" (on 9 to 16 year olds); In addition, the results of the project "Growing up with the Social Web" (up to 12- to 24-year-olds), which the Hans Bredow Institute and the University of Salzburg worked on on behalf of the State Media Agency in North Rhine-Westphalia, are presented. [1]