Põlvkondadevaheline suhtlus uue meedia kanalites
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Intergenerational communication in new media environments The Internet users of today encompass members from various age-groups. In addition to young people, the increase in older generations using new media environments is notable. More often, in the context of a family we can see different generations using the same new media platforms. Family members using the same virtual environments can be compared to a real life situation, where they all live under the same roof. Similarly to communicating in domestic situations, the use of common online environments among various family members is a rising trend. While sharing these spaces, we can observe similar behavioral patterns: in both cases (domestic vs online) maintaining privacy is the first priority, but they also want to share instructions, confirm their behavioral patterns and communication preferences. When making use of new technology, family members need to learn how to share virtual spaces together and thus also how to shape their behavioral practices so that they would suit the others. The study aimed to find out the reasons and motivations family members from different generations have for making use of new media environments for family communication. The main results are presented in the article ”Who Introduced Granny to Facebook? Exploration of Everyday Family Interactions on Web-Based Communication Environments” written by Virge Tamme ja Andra Siibak (2012). In the article, we focused on the habits of three generations using the new media environments. We also looked at the causes that have directed different generations to use the new media and what the main preferences while choosing the channels in order to stay in contact with family members are. From a broader perspective, we discussed the shared practices of family members and gave an overview of the pressure and changes of behavioral practices caused by family members going online. The research gave an overview of the changes of intergenerational communication and how new technological possibilities have been introduced and rooted inside the family. Although the focus of the study is relatively novel, the small size of the study sample (N=13) does not allow us to make any generalizations about the findings. Nevertheless, the results of the study allow to indicate some main trends in the field of intergenerational communication in the new media environments. Our interviews indicate that the Internet and the new media environments play an enormous role in supporting and partly also re-establishing intergenerational communication. The desire to have an overview of what their loved ones have been up to and to feel the sense of belonging are the main reasons, why different generations have joined the new media environments. Hence, such mechanisms are often used, for instance, by families who live far from each other as the computer and Internet help to reduce the geographical distance and allow family members to communicate verbally, visually and through writing. Maintaining contact and being aware of what the members of younger generations are doing are particularly important for the older family members. The motivation of older generations to join the new environments comes from their grandchildren, who through their own computer use act as role models for their grandparents. Thus, they motivate older generations to practice and study how to use the new environments. Using similar online environments gives family members an opportunity to share their values, attitudes, and strengthen the ties between generations. This study indicates, however, that even family members living under the same roof use the new media, even for talking with loved ones sitting in the next room. Such behavior shows the excessive comfort and negative habits of family members caused by being accustomed to doing all operations on the Internet. Communication between family members in the new media environments refers to a decrease in traditional communication channels. Through that we can be sure that the new environments have a significant impact on the communication patterns inside the family. The results suggest that Skype, MSN and Facebook are the most popular for maintaining contact between family members. Rather than taking the opportunity to communicate face to face, our respondents confessed preferring to use text-based communication channels so they would be able to think while compiling the message. Verbal communication through Skype, for instance, is more popular among married couples who see Skype as an alternative to phone conversation because of work mobility. The main topics of conversation are daily interactions of family members, financial health, planning events and health issues. In addition, the study results showed that younger generations have different opinions about older generations going online. On the one hand, young people accept older generations in the new media environments, but on the other hand, there is resentment and misunderstanding. Due to the fact that older generations have found their way to the same social media channels, young people need to take a critical approach towards their postings. This has prompted them to use social steganography and different privacy settings. Despite that, parents see their own benefits while using the same new media platforms as their children. Through children’s postings, parents are able to understand their children’s thoughts much better. Using the same environments gives parents an opportunity for online mediation. Generational differences in the new media environments will come out mainly through the posting activity and content creation. While younger generations post pictures, thoughts, links and music, parents mainly post pictures and links. For example, for the grandparent generation it is uncomfortable to be active in new media, because the Internet is not the technology of their generation and therefore they have no courage to use it. Postings and content creation by younger generations often upset both parent and grandparent generations, since the spelling and phrases are incorrect. Despite intergenerational differences, all three generations see the huge potential that the new media environments have. We can say that using the new media inside the family is a positive trend, but thanks to the grandparent generations sense of mission to use and maintain a high presence of traditional communication, we can consider the new media environments to be alternative, but not the main communication channels, at least not for older generations.