The change in today’s youth is often thought to be a result of social media and the internet, but YTN’s study of youth and the same shift in Europe seventy years ago led us to a different conclusion. We believe that the explosion of social media is a response to a shift in the mindset or worldview of our younger generations.  Worldview can be a nebulous concept and may best be described as how one perceives and evaluates their surroundings, information, relationships, as well as draws conclusions. Today most adults/parents have a fundamentally modern view of the world in the US, but a majority of youth has a post-modern worldview.

 

Most adults today evaluate their world through a factual or more knowledge based paradigm. Moderns tend to value knowledge, evidence, science, and higher education. In short they gather information or facts to make decisions for themselves. As a result moderns are more performance driven.

 

A significant shift has occurred in the fundamental way young people view their world similar to what happened in Europe seventy years ago. Today a majority of youth view and evaluate their existence based on very different criteria. Post-moderns value authenticity, community and experience more than knowledge, facts and evidence. As they gain information they do not draw conclusions on information alone. Instead they process information through a more relational, experiential grid. They take the information and assess whether that information will work for and within their community and family. They assess its authenticity or truthfulness based on experience that either confirms the knowledge works or confirms it does not. Post-moderns are fundamentally skeptical of knowledge and truth given the barrage of conflicting information our “modern culture” has created and thrown at them at a volume far greater than what we experienced.

 

As a result authentic relationships and community are more fundamental needs than knowledge and information. Combined with the increasing involvement of adults in youths’ lives and their belief that they cannot be honest with adults, the explosion of social media makes sense. Post-moderns seek to create a sense of community in a culture where neighborhoods and community have to a large degree broken down.

 

The impact of different worldviews on the parent adolescent relationship should not be overlooked. As parents take an information, knowledge-based approach, it frustrates their kids who by contrast want to have healthy, authentic relationships within their family that validate the information their parents are using to motivate them to perform.