Calculation is to consciously aim for the biggest amount of good effects while trying to minimize the amount of bad effects.

Whenever we calculate we trust that we can influence the future. We trust that by choosing our strategies we can make good things happen for us in the future while avoiding bad effects.

Calculation is narrowly tied up with our auto-narration. Our second identity steers our long-term planning and sets our long-term goals. Calculation is the instrument to try and achieve these goals in the best way possible.

Calculation is what makes us play different roles to different people. We carefully construct our social environment in such a manner that we achieve better things for us while keeping away from what is bad for us.

There are a few problems with calculation though. To start with, our short-term identity cannot be steered in a very calculating way because it is unconscious. This means that although we like to believe that most of our actions and decisions are rational and calculated, not many are. More likely we rationalize the things we do intuitively to keep the faith in our rationality intact.

A second problem with calculation is that the good that we are striving for in reality never will be as good as we thought it would be before we got it. Winning the lottery as a rule does not bring the summit of happiness for a longer time because all of a sudden family, neighbors, acquaintances and strangers want to get  piece of the pie. When they don’t get what they want they start complaining, or far worse. If they do get what they want they want more.

Fortunately, the same mechanism holds true for bad events as well. When the worst possible things happen to us we tend to suffer a short-term effect but most of us return to the state we were in before the event after a while. These mechanisms put the use of calculation under a question mark.

When we look at the online environment calculation is even more complicated. Online day-to-day communication is open for all to see and does not leave too much space for role playing. In the online world our adaptive unconscious is even more important because almost everything we do there is related to short-term and impulsive decision-making.

Thus it is very understandable that youngsters try to take their time before they react. They try not to react too impulsively because they know that what is written cannot be undone. They feel that they are being observed all the time and that their choices are being registered. They take these factors into account when contemplating bout their reactions and actions..

The workshop aim is to trigger reflection. Reflection is the process of thinking about a step that was implemented automatically before. Reflection comes even before the first step of thinking about changing behavior. Reflection consists of asking naive questions like: What is this about? How am I to understand this?

Youngsters are used to asking these questions all the time. This is what creating meaning online is all about. By asking questions and coming up with associations and preliminary answers they try to understand what is going on.

Unfortunately youngsters are short on having life experience and concepts to give words to these reflections. That is where adults come in. They need to assist youngsters in filling this gap.

That is why the workshop conception of media education equals  a dialogue between generations on the effects of using (digital) mass media.

The dialogue is not a one way track. While adults bring their life experience and knowledge to the table youngsters have their online experiences to offer. Because of these online experiences and the permanent network of reactions and judgments in which they operate, they are far closer to their adaptive unconscious.

In the introduction Communication between generations it appeared that youngsters do not open up to adults very easily and that they do not think adults always tell the truth.

Maybe the bigest obstacle standing between adults and youngsters is the calculation as described above. Maybe calculation makes adults look less truthful. Maybe calculation makes adults dismiss the online world as something less relevant. And maybe calculation causes adults not to take enough time to do something online with youngsters or start a real dialogue about what these youngsters do online, even though these are the best ways to make youngsters be safer online.

If calculation presupposes trust in the manufacturability of the future then the workshop’s version of media education presupposes trust in the reciprocity of learning in a dialogue form. This does not mean that adults must agree with all that youngsters tell them. While adults should listen with respect to what youngsters have to say it is the task of educators to stir youngsters up and instill doubts in them about their self-images and society.

The dialogue form must raise questions about difficult topics like the difficulties some youngsters experience when communicating in the real world and whether what they call a drama or powning does not rather amount to cyber bullying.

The dialogue form is not about blind affirmation. It is about creating moments of authenticity.

For the role of educators, see: and