Young men in the borderlines of virtual and material worlds
Socioal Work and Social Pedagogy University of Kuopio Kuopio, Finland
Dep. of Philosophy and Social Sciences University of Jyvaskylä Jyväskylä, Finland
The presentation is based on a study of about 20 young men and two kinds of data from the very same group. They are on their twenties. One of them as a key person has recorded all their discussions in the closed chatting-channel. The others gave a permission to print all the discussions from three months, altogether about 140 pages in print. Besides that five of them are interviewed. The questions to be considered from the data are as following: What is the relationship between the "real" life, or should we say material world, and the life in the Net. What kind of (informal) learning experiences can be found in the recordings? The main question behind these very questions is simply: what is it to be a young man in these days? Classified in quantitatively the vast amount of data is dealing with playing war games and using alcohol. What is surprising is the absence of the opposite sex and sexual issues as a whole. The existence of embodiment is remarkable. The boys spent most of their leisure time in the net, playing and communicating with each other. Their bodies and minds, dreams and routines, perhaps whole identities, are deeply influenced by the Net and the channel. In other words, our study gives us new information about the late-modern learning environments and ways of life, and, in a broader sense, what it is like to live in a contemporary society. The new media can be seen as an elementary part of modern growing environments. The question about the virtual media and its relationship to education, life worlds, and learning processes of the adolescents is, it goes without saying, of present interest and scientifically challenge. The new media can be seen as a leading aspect in the formation of communities of the young, and it can also be seen as a field that competes even against the school and working life.