4 February 2021
Technology and MIL competence of young people for the future in Europe
Source: European Commission
Project and Communications Officer
Foreign Policy Initiative BH
Young people easily disassemble and assemble a computer, but are not able to critically analyze the media content placed on the same device
The development of technology and the changes that are taking place, from entertainment, communication, ways of informing, all change the structures of societies, political systems from day to day, hour by hour even, as every day brings new updates on the operating systems, as well as other new improvements on our smart mobile devices. This development has brought great innovations that have made people’s lives easier. However, at the same time, new problems have emerged.
The development of communication tools has brought people together on all continents. On the other hand, communication and technological development has posed new dangers, so governments around the world are waging wars on various extremist and terrorist groups and criminal organizations that use these communication channels to spread propaganda of their negative ideological manifestos, exchange resources and try to harm the political order.
When we look at the media, the newspapers that were most widely circulated in the print edition, no longer had the opportunity to survive unless they switched to new ways of communicating with their readers and followers. Informing people has been transferred to a new dimension, where anyone can create information and post it online, as well as compete with the established media, question their truth and steal the attention of their audience. In this way, disinformation and propaganda have become new tools for those who aim to destroy democratic processes. Global terrorism and extremism, the anti-vax movement, that is especially active today during the COVID-19 pandemic, various conspiracy theories from secret societies, delusions and lies, such as the one that the Earth is flat, have all been transferred online from the dark rooms of their creators to the homes of people around the world. Experts would say that technology has brought problems and that the new information society has indications of an apocalyptic scenario. However, I would say that technology has only brought new knowledge and skills, and our generations have to adopt them in order to deal with these problems on their own.
Today, the older generations have a problem not only with understanding the content of what is true and what is false, what is subjective and what is objective, what is fact and what is belief, but also face big technical problems on how to properly use these new technologies. Some young people, on the other hand, have technical knowledge and competencies, but they do not have the ability to critically analyze the content that is placed before them. For example, if you ask them about certain content, they are able to quickly find out who owns a particular portal. Also, if the portal aims to make only money from web ads and therefore place a certain content type, young people can understand what the title is that its aim is to generate more clicks. They can even find out if it is a fake page just by looking at the page design and its domain. But all young people, regardless of their technical skills, cannot understand the other side of this content, for what purposes the content was created, whether the content has political, economic or any other interests, that seek to manipulate their emotions and behavior.
The question is, how to deal with these problems? The answer is worth a million dollars, especially when looking at the practices of developed free world countries that introduce new technology into curricula, all with the goal of developing critical thinking and analyzing all technologies they use. It is about teaching new generations that technology is not just for fun, nor is the media and other platforms they use on a daily basis. In this way, technology incorporated into the education system, changes the behaviors and attitudes of young people in the daily consumption of these contents and technologies.
Until this premise changes in the education systems of the Western Balkans, and certainly the mentality of every household, parent and educator, young people will be able to easily disassemble and assemble a computer, but will not be able to use it adequately in their daily lives and be prepared for their future in Europe.
To be continued …