Lecture: “New technologies – new challenges of growing up”

Raising children in the 21st Century is a great challenge and responsibility, and the challenges facing the modern family in the upbringing of children worry as almost every parent. The challenges and dilemmas about education are numerous, and one of them is how to determine the content and time of use of different media in children.

Director of the Child and Youth Protection Center of Zagreb, prof. Gordana Buljan Flander, PhD held on March 3rd, 2018 in Dubrovnik a lecture on “New technologies – new challenges of growing up” organized by the Life and Family Council of the Dubrovnik Diocese.

The lecture was attended by parents, educators, teachers and psychologists to get acquainted with the methods of preserving the safety and well-being of children exposed to new technologies.

Although in recent years much more difficult and challenging to be a parent, teacher or other important person involved in life and child upbringing of the child, it is important to recall that these adults have greater responsibility towards children and young people. Using the media and various technologies sometimes can be a behavior that adults can reward children because they find that mastering such content reflects the progress of the child at an early age, but data the American Pediatric Association show that children up to two years should not be exposed to media content due to adverse effects on their healthy neurocognitive and socio-emotional development.

Professor Buljan Flander during the lecture emphasized that despite the fact that today’s children are a lot of “internet” literate than their parents, parents have a lifelong experience, so their children can be supported and models of responsible use of the media. It is necessary to work with young people to develop their own sense of responsibility, but parents and other adults need to help them consider what is harmful to them. Since children sometimes cannot cope with the challenges of modern technology alone, it is important to have close relatives trust to help them deal with different difficulties or concerns.

Professor Gordana Buljan Flander emphasized that although the use of the media has many undoubtedly useful aspects, through the media, various forms of violence are possible, ranging from peer violence to sexual abuse. Violence against and among children in the recent times becomes even more dangerous because it is linked to modern technologies and the media in a way that can be tracked and documented by video clips whose sharing in the already disrupted relationship involves a large “community” resulting in powerful negative consequences on the child.

This topic has aroused great interest of the public and parents who shared their experiences, and all of them finally agreed that only by building trust with children can reduce the risks of new technologies in growing new generations.

Concluding the lecture, introductory speaker and moderator Jelena Đuraš Gleđ, a member of the Life and Family Council of the Dubrovnik Diocese, reminded on the words of Pope Francis: “The credibility of communication is not determined by technology but by the human heart and our ability to use it with the means available to us”; “the Internet can be used to build a society that is healthy and open to giving”. Modern communication technologies are ” a gift from God that carries enormous responsibility”, and in the end all those present urged to encourage the words of the Holy Father and we take part of that responsibility for building a healthy society.