The symposium’s focus is on the increasing burdens borne by children and adolescents due to progressive mass-mediatization, digitization and resulting social ramifications of a psychic, mental and social nature, as well as the economic upheavals reverberating throughout post-modernity.

The present time is marked by calamitous crises, not only politically, but also in the medical, social and natural sciences. In order to react adequately to these crises and appropriately cope with them requires well-grounded concepts of crisis in the individual disciplines.

The ongoing pandemic has shown that, due to isolation, psychic illnesses in families such as depression, anxiety, suicidal tendencies and grave behavioural disorders are on the rise. Furthermore, in many cases parents are unable to care properly for children and adolescents because of their own burdens, stresses and strains.

At the present time of conflict between Russia and Ukraine, increasing anxieties and psychosomatic illnesses are emerging. Not least of all, due to climate change and the threats forecast, a considerably accelerated incidence of states of anxiety and depression is becoming commonplace.

In order to gain a better view of these burdens weighing upon children and adolescents and to cast light upon them in an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary way, the international symposium wants to investigate and interrogate the current state of research as well as working out necessary new investigations, possible solutions and measures whilst making the context more concrete. This comprises psychiatry, clinical psychopathology, psychotherapy as well as a social-scientific perspective with regard to children and adolescents in the present time.

From the viewpoint of social science, the changing values since post-modernity is a further burdensome factor for the development of children and adolescents. The process of cultural change in values takes place under the increasingly oppressive dictates of individual self-realization and a new social non-commitment that favours social upheavals and dislocation. Likewise, the increasing digitization and technical acceleration pose a challenge of a psychic, physical and mental kind. Development, education and training in schools, universities and vocations, too, are confronted with new tasks that give rise to the question concerning what revisions and extensions of the curriculum should be undertaken in order to strengthen adolescents in their psychic and mental development. In the areas of medicine, psychology, pedagogy and social science, therefore, stronger co-operation is needed. In doing so, the misunderstanding of a merely conservative, reactive rejection of these new developments in favour of ‘traditional values’ must be avoided. Rather, constructive proposals should be placed at the focus of the debate.

The totality of these processes of change gives rise to new questions with which we want to engage at the symposium from various specialist perspectives:

1        What effects does the increasing virtualization of life have on the development of children and adolescents? What psychological ‘tools’ do they need in order to cope with this world?

2        How do children and adolescents react to global crises such as pandemics, war and climate change? Which necessary topics for research and action are to be identified through the lens of these events?

3        What are the social and psychological consequences of change and the gradual disappearance of traditional value systems? How can we create an equilibrium between appropriate self-realization of the individual and social connection? What does this entail for the training of psychiatrists, psychologists, teachers, social workers and other occupations?