Academic journal article Journal of Psychological and Educational Research

The Impact of Cyber - Activity on Youth Development

Academic journal article Journal of Psychological and Educational Research

The Impact of Cyber - Activity on Youth Development

Article excerpt

The changes in modern developmental context

Because of the globalization processes1 the world has shrunk - socially, economically and culturally. We are able to do our shopping in various time zones on various continents and track the delivery 24 hours a day in cyberspace2. However, one should add here that the process of separating the traditionally understood time and space works both ways. Today, thanks to the use of cyberspace, the world may not only "compress' - come closer, but also "expand' - become more distant. Network participants can create their own worlds to suit their needs. The created worlds may be alternative to reality, and the network user may switch back and forth between the real and the virtual domain while retaining his or her core identity. A person may not feel psychologically attached to the actual physical location where that person is staying; on the other hand, someone staying physically close to us may actually live in a world that is unattainable and distant, because it is artificially created. Another problem that has been manifesting itself is greater and greater diversification of societies and distance between individuals measured by their competences and access to new technologies (Bauman, 2011). Lack of readiness and competences for living in a globalized world may cause a globalization shock leading to apathy and resistance, a certain aversion (Nieman, 2011) or even loss of access to culture (Salzman, 2001). Fast technological changes drastically alter the conditions of human development. As the life environment has been changing rapidly, recognized models of development (e.g. the adequacy of the concept of developmental tasks, Arnett, 2007; Baltes, Lindenberger, & Staudinger, 2006; Trempala & Cieciuch, 2016) or notions used in psychology (Sampson, 1989; Kowalik, 2015) are being questioned. Developmental psychologists undertake the problem of insufficient knowledge and lack of efficient tools for the measurement of psychological processes connected with functioning in a world that is variable and unstable in different contexts (amusement, virtual, family life, professional life, etc., cf. Farnicka & Liberska, 2016).

One of the ways to tackle and solve the problems discussed above is offered by the contextual approach. It is worth reminding here that in the contextual approach developmental environment and developmental context are two different things. Developmental environment comprises all the material and non-material elements that an individual potentially has access to and by which he or she is potentially influenced. The moment when those objects, events or situations enter the psychological reality of the individual, they become the context of his or her individual development (Brzezinska, 2000).

Berry (2013) presented the model of analysis of three basic characteristics of individual functioning in a social world. Those are: attitudes of cognitive processes, social competences and goal-directed social activity. Another (older) proposal is the method of systemic description of complex psychological phenomena in the penta-basis approach. Ganzen (1984) proposed that the functioning of a given psychological object (process) should be described in relation to the following four dimensions: time, space, energy and information. With the use of that method one can describe interactions of each dimension with the object (process) and the emerging relations structure based on five elements. Approaching the process from the developmental perspective, those elements interact in time with the object and therefore researchers are able to observe and analyse the character of those interactions (at a given moment in time t, e.g. t1 or t2) or analyse the changes occurring in selected dimensions (e.g. between t1 and t2).

Each object has its intrinsic characteristics, which determines its mode of existence in each of the dimensions. The time dimension may describe the current status of the object and its developmental tendencies. …

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