Social networks and Generation Z: between empowerment and educational risks

The “generation Z” is the one that, since its birth, has had access to the Internet and social network: Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok are the "daily diet" of this generation. The rhetoric of digital natives according to which young people have different learning and information processing structures from those of previous generations, too often removes responsibility from significant adults regarding their educational and guiding role in the use of the Internet. In fact, being digital natives does not mean being aware of the risks to which these technologies can expose or being prepared for a more careful and critical use of the Internet. On the other hand, even the excessive alarmism of the proponents of the "drained brain" (a brain totally dependent on technology) can be misleading and not very constructive. Our contribution aims to identify both the empowerment possibilities offered by social networks, understood as strategies for developing learning environments able to create and implement competent communities, and the possible educational risks that digital social environments represent for young users.