M. Tatar

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (ISRAEL)
The term Digital Revolution refers to the advancement of technology from analog electronic and mechanical devices to digital technologies available today. The Digital Revolution era started during the 1980s and is ongoing and rapidly changing. It also marks the beginning of the Information Era and it is sometimes also called the Third Industrial Revolution. The Digital Era is characterized by technologies of information and communication (ICT) which increase the speed and breadth of knowledge turnover within the economy and society. This revolution poses many challenges to our understanding of the developmental, identity-related and psychological processes which today’s children and teenagers have to undergo. Semi-structured interviews conducted with 59 Israeli school professionals (28 counselors and 31 teachers all of them working at Israeli secondary schools) allowed an in-depth understanding of the perceptions and actions of these professionals when dealing with their digital students. The interviews focused on the perceptions of their students; the characteristics of this generation of pupils as viewed by counselors and teachers; the advantages and disadvantages when working vis-à-vis digital adolescents; the ways they use for coping with the challenges related to the digital era; and whether and how they adapt their counseling and teaching strategies and techniques in this evolving era. The main findings stressed the ambivalence of most of the educational professionals regarding the advantages of working in today’s context; the difficulties they find when trying to adopt new strategies in their professional work; the dilemmas these school professionals are facing, and their continuous seeking of more appropriate and effective ways to adopt when providing services to their digital students trying to balance between what is professional in their opinion and what is expected and appropriate in this new context. This paper grounded in an ecological-contextual approach, will describe the psychological and social characteristics of the digital generation as reported by school counselors an teachers and will analyse its complex implications for teachers (pedagogical issues) and for school mental health professionals (therapeutic and counseling topics).