Digital Fears Experienced by Young People in the Age of Technoscience

Abstract

With the advance of technoscience, digital technologies have started to reshape the traditional array of social fears experienced by younger generations by triggering the appearance of new, digital fears. In this article, we undertake a sociological analysis to investigate the concept of digital fears both theoretically and empirically. Our survey conducted among Russian young people aged 18–30 in 2020 (N = 1050, Sverdlovsk region, Russian Federation) showed that fear is a distinctive characteristic of the social well-being of this generation. Moreover, fear tends to become more pronounced both quantitatively (i.e., the frequency of emergence) and qualitatively (i.e. the emergence of new types). The identified digital fears of young people allowed us to draw their typology. Depending on the specifics of digital threat, the following types were distinguished: those associated with impact and control, crime and security, communication and activity, technology and innovation, and social inequality. We show that the expanding range of social fears leads to the formation of catastrophic thinking in young people, thereby affecting the level of social well-being and distorting the image of the future.

Author Biographies

Sofya B. Abramova, Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg, Russia

Sofya B. Abramova, Cand. Sci. (Sociology), Associate Professor, Department of Applied Sociology, Ural Federal University. Her major interests center around sociolinguistics, modern technologies of studying public opinion, sociology of the media, and sociology of youth. During her research career, Sofya has published over 100 research articles. Among her most recent foci of interest are the institute of higher education during digitalization, as well as social practices of urban populations.

Natalya L. Antonova, Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg, Russia

Natalya L. Antonova, Dr. Sci. (Sociology), Professor, Department of Applied Sociology, Ural Federal University. Her research interests focus on the theory and methodology of sociological research, sociology of social changes, urban studies, study of the human body, modern educational technologies, and modern global processes. Natalya is the author of over 250 articles in the field of social studies. Her most recent research focus is social transformations of the urban space and social practices of the urban youth.

Riccardo Campa, Institute of Sociology, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland

Riccardo Campa is Extraordinary Professor of Sociology and Director of the History of Ideas Research Centre at Jagiellonian University in Krakow. He teaches Social and Political Philosophy, and Futures Analysis. He possesses two Master of Arts degrees, in Political Science and Philosophy, from the University of Bologna, a PhD degree in Epistemology from the Nicholas Copernicus University in Torun, Poland, and a doctoral habilitation in Sociology from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. Prior to becoming an academic, Campa had been a police lieutenant with Guardia di Finanza and a journalist for La Voce di Mantova and the newsmagazine Il Mondo. He founded and is currently the Honorary President of the Italian Transhumanist Association, served as the Director of the World Transhumanist Association (2006–2008), and is a Fellow of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. Most of his publications relate to the social study of science and technology.

Natalia G. Popova, Institute for Philosophy and Law, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Yekaterinburg, Russia

Natalia G. Popova, Cand. Sci. (Sociology), Senior Researcher, Institute for Philosophy and Law of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Natalia has been conducting research into various aspects of academic communication for over 25 years. She holds Master’s degree in engineering, linguistics, and sociology. Currently, her research interests center around sociology of science and technology, in particular, the problems of open access and digitalization, transformation in the role of scientific journals in academic communication, academic publishing under the influence of globalization trends. Along with sociological research, she continues to improve approaches to teaching academic English to postgraduate students both in publishing methodological and scientific materials, running webinars and seminars. Her most recent focus of interest is linguistic translation of scientific texts and their preparation for publication in international scholarly journals.

Published
2022-04-11
How to Cite
Abramova, S., Antonova, N., Campa, R., & Popova, N. (2022). Digital Fears Experienced by Young People in the Age of Technoscience. Changing Societies & Personalities, 6(1), 56–78. doi:10.15826/csp.2022.6.1.163
Section
Articles