It is good sign that we have launched site for our Youth Apostolate. We can not do away with media but we have to make use of it in proper way. One of the distinguishing characteristics of our time is surely that we are in the age of Mass Communication. The new communicative technologies have a lot of impact on the youth. The natural question that comes to the mind would be why only on youth? It is true that it affects all but youth in special. Because, they are the ones who have immediate access to the modern facilities compared to other. This is not a closed article. My aim is to initiate you all to the discussion on the topic.
The ‘Virtual world’ here refers to the media world. Since this new age opens up to the vast ocean of possibilities we may get confused in our choices. It affects our personal and community life. It affects all aspects of the life such as our attitude, life style, relationships, world view, morality, spirituality etc. We all are very comfortable with the virtual world than with the real world. For example, take the case of the cell phone. One person who is very shy to speak face to face may speak so nicely and confidently to others through the phone especially in the case with complimentary sex. This is one example to show that we prefer virtual world than the real world. That is why most of the parents compliant that their children spend hours in their phones but does not have time to speak to us.
It is true that the communication systems become part of their lives. The sample survey that conducted among the Pune Malayali Christian youth (the survey was not conducted in large scale, it has its own limitations) provides following facts:|
1. A shift of interest from TV to internet and mobile.
2. They are least interested in the print media. When it comes to the case of Christian magazines this becomes worse. They look for the charming and thrilling matters. They prefer short and sweet.
3. The change in the morality and the new carefree culture of media are on an increase. Many seek helps through Internet when they face some sort of Faith crisis. The problem here is who guides him there or what guides him. Here, collective opinion becomes faith and the peer group becomes guiding principle.
4. Youth admit that they are living in a world full of stress and strain that is why they prefer entertainment movies
5. Most of the time they are in the virtual world of media
When the question about Mobile phone came one commented like this, “Oh mobile, I can not live with out that. It is my life partner. I get everything through my phone”. Let us analyze ourselves in our 24 hours a day how much time we spend for our mobile phone, TV and internet. We are not denying the fact that we need the modern technologies and communicative means but our point of discussion here is what is the attitude towards these facilities.
If media is the ‘gift of God’ it is out duty to use it properly. If we are not conquering the media then the media will conquer us. It is God’s command that fill and subdue the earth . If media is properly used it can be of great service to humankind because it opens before vast horizon of possibilities. So, what we need is the awareness and knowledge about the media. Media education becomes important here. It is not simply as skills’ training but as an awareness and understanding of the representations of reality generated by media in a media-shaped society
It is our duty to instruct and guide our friends so that they, with the help of these same media, may further the salvation and perfection of themselves and of the entire human family . As recipients we must know the ways and means of media. It will help us to be active and critical viewers rather than passive spectators who receive whatever the communication media offer. L.I Brezhner says, “The media can serve the purpose of peace and confidence or they can spread all over the world the poison of discard between countries and people” . Youth and the kids have to be especially cared and have to be prepared to deal with the media in moderation and self-control. The media is for the humans not the other way.
Why internet and the mobile are most influential in the life of the youth? Why reality shows are attractive for youth? Because, these provide participatory communication, i.e. the communication here is more dialogical. This gives impetus to make our approach to the youth more dialogical. Participatory church becomes more appealing here. As the Pope Benedict XVI says let us encourage each other to bring the witness of their faith to the digital world .It is the responsibility of each and every one of us. Let us encourage each other, let us conquer the virtual world.