How do the old and new media influence individuals and society?

Theoretical research

This challenge aims to gather new knowledge on a topic, which contributes and adds value to the already existing knowledge on this topic.


Human kind experiences the world around it through interactions with its surroundings and through the lenses of the media, both old and new. Indeed, media shape the way in which we experience the world.

The new media developments have had their impact on how we communicate, express our opinions or build relationships. Moreover, the medium itself has a very central role in such interactions, shaping the way we receive and send information and making this process at times more crucial than the information itself.

Media dictates the way we perceive the world, but also influences and changes our ideas of a universal truth, freedom and privacy. Are we governed by algorithms, and if so, is that acceptable? Media shapes the way in which we gather information, but what truth lies in this information? How can we prevent being fed false information? How can we ensure press freedom world-wide? In addition, what should be the role of influencers and social media platforms when it comes to spreading (mis)information?


The main goal of this challenge is to explore how old and new media has influenced individuals and society in the past, and how they are influencing individuals and society in the present. What threats and opportunities for our society lie in the changing media landscape? To be able to tackle complex global challenges in the near future, we need to know what the role of the media is and what their role could be.

Perspectives and possible directions

The complex questions related to the topic arise on both micro and macro levels, for example about (mental) health, environment, democracy, privacy and law, business strategies, or innovation.

This question touches upon various dimensions, including the influence of traditional and new media on children and young people’s personal development, the opportunities and threats that they represent to (young) people, the rise of social media and how these can improve the problem-solving ability of individuals and society.

This age of connectedness brings us closer to and, at the same time, further from each other. As a result, it becomes quite difficult to find our way through the abundance of the information we have access to in our “global village”. Are we not overly stimulated by the constant presence of media? This number of data causes the emergence of new challenges such as selective exposure due to complex search algorithms, accountability and credibility on social media, influence of media on the decision-making of the individuals etc.

How can the bonding and bridging processes created by old and new media generate information capital alongside financial and social capital? And how does the raise of these new technologies encourage us to reflect on society and its current challenges?