SwitchOFF/SwitchON: Young People and Social Media During Covid-19 Pandemic

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The Youth Exchange “SwitchOFF/SwitchON”, managed by Associazione No Borders, took place in Galbiate (Italy) on January 17-26, 2022.

The project gathered 36 young people from Italy, Portugal, Poland, Spain and Germany, in a Youth Exchange that brought them together to share and reflect on their experience of the COVID-19 pandemic, through the lens of their use of media during this period.

Using the shared experience of social distancing as a starting point, we raised the participants’ awareness of the influence of media on one’s emotional state and identity.

The Context

While countries in Europe may have slightly different policies regarding the pandemic, almost everybody has experienced social distancing in some way or another. While at home, media and the internet in general were the main contact with the outside world for us young people.

From one side the feed of information on both social media and traditional media were deeply affecting how we felt emotionally (sometimes even physically) and on the other side, we wondered how these tools were being used to represent our identity or to keep following the others during this period of extremely limited personal contact.

The Objectives

The specific objectives of the project were:

  1. Reflect on how the media has an effect on us and on our health by disconnecting temporarily from it, take a step back and observe
  2. Foster critical thinking observing what we receive from media (in content and form) and how we use it
  3. Raise self-awareness by getting in contact with ourselves in a natural environment and reflecting on the differences between our private identity and our digital identity
  4. Achieve better mental wellbeing of the participants through activities focused on our thoughts and sharing the feelings after the period of isolation during the quarantine
  5. Promoting a healthy and sustainable lifestyle conducting outdoor activities and getting to know the best practices of the venue that will host us
  6. Promoting creativity and self-expression by implementing creative activities
  7. Enhance the participants’ intercultural awareness through informal exchange and activities that encourage sharing each culture’s specificities
  8. Increase the participants’ foreign language competences by communicating and learning with their peers
  9. Promote the opportunities of Erasmus+ programme within the participants and local community

During the Youth Exchange, participants have developed several outputs, including social media posts, videos and guides.

Here you can find some of the main outputs

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