Breaking barriers between youth in the new tech era: is there an easy way through?

Written by Alexandru Dragos Ene, Vice President, Director of Communication, JADE – European Confederation of Junior Enterprises

_alexandru_dragos

Alexandru Dragos Ene JADE – European Confederation of Junior Enterprises Vice President, Director of Communication

Living in Brussels for a while I understood that there is a lot of high level talk, especially around European Institutions (The EU Parliament and EU Commission) about the fact that youth should be empowered much more, especially in less developed economies. It just happens that I am from Eastern Europe, from efficiency-driven country, and stumbling across students from all around the continent has driven me to some interesting ideas about the status quo of youth and the emerging generation.

During Generations Club 2014, the Chairman of Microsoft Europe, Mr. Jan Mühlfeit, said that we are the first generation in history able to use technology better than our predecessors. Technology is, of course, a prime driver when it comes to facilitating communication, but how much does it really help us understand each other? Not a single time in my life have I been part of an important meeting between young people my age that preferred to use a video conference software rather than having it face to face, unless it was no other way to do so.  And there is an important reason to do it. As young people we strive for expressing ourselves, and we feel a need to use our full potential of body language, physical proximity, and any other way of direct communication. We put our energy into our relationships, and while technology may give us a helping hand, it cannot teach us to be better people.

I believe youth are falling into a trap. Internet is bringing the world knowledge into everyone’s hands. It’s easy to feel empowered when you can learn anything at least at basic level from a few clicks. But it may also teach us that we can do it fine on our own. Let me give you a example of how knowledge brought people together in the previous century: in communist Romania, good books were not so common, and people were not allowed a great variety of entertainment. People were reaching to others to complete their beloved collection of novels, and they were trading rare music collections for encyclopedias brought from abroad. This bonded people, they were feeding culture to each other.
Now all this knowledge is so accessible that opinion has become well overrated as importance. For some, it feels that opinions are one of the few intangible things that we truly own. Media also encourages opinion expression, and the so called opinion leaders may trick us into thinking that they equal knowledge. We, the young people, have the opinion ego.

I challenge you to imagine a world where everyone thinks their opinion is the best, because they know everything. I challenge you to try to solve global problems with people that were always used to say “I know better’”. There is a serious threat that we forget to listen to what other have to say because we care too much about our opinions, especially in a world where young people are used to extremes: like versus dislike, thumbs up versus thumbs down.

We cannot make the connections looking forward. We can only do it looking behind us, at what it has been said, and heard. There is no other way to compensate our natural lack of experience but by embracing the ideas of the group, brainstorming and making connections between hundreds of ideas that otherwise remain in each other’s minds, far from the internet. Without that, we are incredibly inefficient, we become stressed or we just give up, whenever opinions clash one against the other. This is not working, and our education lacks the culture of collaborative communication.

While we are promised a better world for innovation, most opportunities are only open for some few lucky young ones from the less favored countries. They are open to the ones that make it on their own, because in the countries where education manages on regular basis to give birth to teamwork, innovation just happens. Those people don’t always need to be taught entrepreneurship, they don’t need anything more than just laws that don’t kill start-ups.

On the other hand, young people from my country, for example, live the dream of changing their society for the good and believe in social projects. But it’s so hard to find followers among their own age that they end up thinking that their dream was just a dream.  On the other hand, when they do find them, magic happens. Want proof? There is an Alternative University in Bucharest, set up entirely by students, that started from just an idea, an idea to change the status quo pf education. How did it start? Another student thought it was a good idea too. Then it became a project.

Collaborative communication is not an easy thing to teach. First people need to be fully aware of themselves and their behavior. They need to accept who they are and embrace change. Secondly, they need to understand the process of learning. They need to learn from other people as they were open, living books. Thirdly, they need to be proactive and motivated, so they need to invest into the relationship from start to end.

Everything above can and has to be taught during school, so that fresh students could assemble organisations of people capable of self-directed learners and start putting real projects, with impact, into practice straight away. In other words, to be able to fail at the very beginning of their maturity and independence and be capable to learn the most out of it. Fail often, fail early, but fail smart. And as you fail, communicate, and improve from the feedback around you. Real teams support members that fail and bounce them back into action. Real teams communicate it through.

While technology does a great job at helping us getting the job done, it does not inspire, nor does it create for us. It’s just there, to ask it what to do. We need to use it for the others, not just for ourselves. And in the end there is still one thing that is and will be always out of our control: no matter if our opinions on it diverge or not, the future will still happen.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Terrorism ‘spreading and destabilizing’ entire regions, Guterres warns States, at key Kenya conference

Lagarde discusses the European Central Bank’s policy revamp with MEPs

INTERVIEW: UN’s top official in North Korea foresees ‘surge’ in humanitarian aid

Youth not prioritised in new Commission

Central America: drought, resulting crop losses threaten food security of two million people, UN warns

Call to revitalize ‘language of the ancestors’ for survival of future generations: Indigenous chief

This robot has soft hands. It could be the future of sustainable production

The impacts of working conditions on the quality of the healthcare system

The fires in the Brazilian amazon rainforest may be related to the increase in the number of hospitalizations for respiratory complications in the state of PARÁ

Negotiated two-State solution still ‘the only option’ for Palestine: Guterres

EU takes again positive action on migration crisis while Turkey asks for dear favors in exchange for cooperation

Colombia: New Congress marks rebel group’s transition ‘from weapons to politics’, says UN

UN refugee agency presses States to aid 49 refugees stranded on Mediterranean

International Literacy Day: What you need to know about youth literacy

Parliament wants binding rules on common chargers to be tabled by summer

An ECB banker wants to change the European social model

UN chief hails ‘very important role’ of Human Rights Council, as US withdraws, citing alleged bias

Paid paternity leave should be the norm in the US

Pushing for tax fairness in a digital world

EU, Brazil to hold high level Summit in Brasilia

The Council unblocks all EU budgets

European Commission and International Monetary Fund strengthen cooperation to support sustainable development

Syria: ‘Deplorable’ violence in Idlib against civilians, humanitarian workers must ‘stop immediately’: UN Coordinator

SMEs are driving job growth, but need higher investment in skills, innovation and tech to boost wages and productivity

UN chief ‘alarmed’ by violations of UN-backed ceasefire in Libya

Can agroforestry save India’s rivers and the farms that depend on them?

De Gucht: More gaffes with the talks on the EU-US free trade agreement

These are the cities with the biggest carbon footprints

America’s student debt crisis explained

Want a more inclusive society? Start with mobility

UN food agency appeals for access to key storage facility amid fight for Hudaydah

Amid ‘unprecedented combination’ of epidemics, UN and partners begin cholera vaccination campaign in DR Congo

Here’s how we make the internet safer for children

UN cooperation with League of Arab States ‘pivotal’, UN chief tells Security Council

European Commission recommends to the European Council (Article 50) to find that decisive progress has been made in Brexit negotiations

Blockchain is becoming key for global trade – but is that a gift for hackers?

10th ASEM in Milan and the importance of being one: EU’s big challenge on the way to China

UN Security Council welcomes results of Mali’s presidential elections

Maros Sefcovic Canete European Commission Energy

Better late than never? Commission runs now to fight energy dependency on Russia with the sustainable energy security package

1.4 million refugees set to need urgent resettlement in 2020: UNHCR

An economist explains what happens if there’s another financial crisis

World Economic Forum launches COVID Action Platform to fight coronavirus

EU and US close to an agreement on data sharing amid European citizens’ concerns

COVID-19: MEPs fear impact on justice system and threat to rule of law

A Europe that Protects: Commission calls for decisive action on security priorities

Vaccination: European Commission and World Health Organization join forces to promote the benefits of vaccines

Anti-vaccination movement affecting youth in Europe

Security Union: political agreement on strengthened Schengen Information System

This wristband tells you what food to buy based on your DNA

The issues of practicing medicine in Pakistan

In this Tokyo cafe, the waiters are robots operated remotely by people with disabilities

‘Never give up’: UN chief urges all who serve, marking UN Day

It’s a lie Eurozone isn’t competitive

#UNGA NEWS ROUNDUP: Funding plea for UNRWA, Burkina Faso and CAR updates, Guterres praises climate change ‘pioneer’ Chirac

We can make sure Globalization 4.0 leaves no one behind. This is how

Only the Americans are unhappy with the ceasefire agreement in eastern Ukraine

How the US should react to the pandemic, according to Bill Gates

Moves to create a Kosovo army have ‘deteriorated relations’ with Serbia: UN peacekeeping chief

UN experts report: Business ‘dragging its feet’ on human rights worldwide

Businesses are thriving, societies are not. Time for urgent change

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s