Social Networks and Youth
Social networks became an important dimension of our lives, especially if we refer to young people who could be characterized as “digital natives”. Generally speaking, social networks have a strong impact on the way we communicate and interact with each other; consequently they may play a key role in the thematic areas of education, social inclusion, active youth participation, information and employment. As a result, the users of social networks should develop a responsible attitude in the digital arena based on the values of respect, human rights and privacy.
It is more than obvious that the rational use of social networks provides young people a unique opportunity to express their opinions and also exchange views with people from all over the world. As a result, the voice of young people is raised even more which leads to the empowerment of youth organizations. On the other hand, the young people should be careful regarding the content they post, i.e. they should not reveal some details concerning their private lives or make comments that may offense someone.
According to some researches, nowadays employers tend to shape the profile of their future employee by searching him/her on facebook, twitter, linkedin etc. Furthermore, some HR professionals use linkedin even for the recruitment process. As a result, young people should be focused on which kind of information they reveal and also on what they post. It is said that some people got fired and some other did not get a certain job because of their “digital identity”. On the other hand, some people got the “job of their dreams” or a promotion due to the fact they created a professional profile in various social networks and also because they participated in discussions and groups.
To sum up, the rational use of social networks may improve the lives of young people in many areas. However, young people, youth workers, educators and other relevant stakeholders should be educated and get informed on the emerging opportunities and challenges of these social networks.