On Friday I attended a local event organised by a Love Life representative, Phetole Lionel Kgatla. The event was focused on the impact of social networks in the youth of today and how we can solve the problem that is the social networks swallowing our youth.
The legendary Lionel Kgatla known for organising successful events in our area organised yet another heated dialogue between parents and the youth to hear their views on social networks and what they think should be done to ensure sustainable use of these helpful tools, that can turn into an ugly monster if you’re not careful with them. He is a Love Life representative in one of our wards in the area and he is doing a very good job of including the whole community in everything he does.
What are Social Network Interactions (SNI) and what do you think of them?
This was the first question that was asked. Some of the responses from the crowd were; SNIs are: “things which people use to share information and I think they must be terminated.” “Another way of communicating with people.” “Another way of communicating at a low price.” “A way of communicating with peers and sharing other stuff.” “A way of sharing media. I am against it because it causes problems for a lot of people and it’s not okay.”
Are Social Networks breaking or making the youth?
After everyone got a bit of an idea as to what SNI is, they got a second question and they were asked to break into two groups, one which supports SNI, and the other group which is against it. As expected, all the adults were in one group, yes you guessed right… the group against SNI. The group had a small amount of the youth in it, of whom I think either don’t have access to social networks or they encountered a very bad experience with them because as a glorified addict who is in most of these social networks, I know it’s not that easy for our generation to function without them so the youth that was in that group clearly has issues, but who am I to judge??? They have their reasons. Okay enough about my personal views, this was not even about me anyway so the two groups got 40 minutes to discuss the topic at hand and give a presentation with reasons why they opted for that particular side.
The group that went first was the one against SNI. They raised some valid points but whoever does all these things they mentioned is just plain stupid according to me.
- Social Networks disturb lessons
- They promote naked media publishing
- Destroy people’s vocabulary
- Devil worshippers can get to you through them
- People get kidnapped or find their long lost family members
- They are used as dating sites
- They promote gossiping
- Separates married people and friends
- Secrets are easily leaked
The second group attacked them with some difficult questions and some of them were left unanswered. The group for SNI then went in for the kill with their killer and flawless presentation. (I know I sound biased because I love Social networks but I’m not, really! This is what went down.)
- It is a cheaper way of communication
- A free marketing tool and comes with a lot of job opportunuties
- You can communicate with a lot of people at the same time at a lower cost
- They help meet new people
- You can establish study groups
There was only two questions for group 2, more like clarifications and I had to step in every now and again to also give my 2 cents worth input but it did go a long way.
Advantages and disadvantages
After both groups have made their presentations, Mahlatse Rampedi, Regional Manager of Love Life also did a presentation of her own, highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of SNI from Love Life’s point of view.
- Cheaper form of communication
- Friends and family can be reached
- Youth from different backgrounds have platforms to communicate
- Educational material can be shared
- Free marketing tool
- Improves communication
- Used as a platform to spread illegal visual material
- Kidnappers use it to meet victims (only stupid people get kidnapped this way!)
- The youth get exposed to criminal activities and lose concentration on their school work
- Expensive devices are required to access some of the applications and it can cause financial backlogs
How can we ensure the effectiveness in the usage of Social Networks?
- Know what you want
- Be disciplined
- Time management
- No cellphones (BULL by the way, the same people saying this are the ones who gon buy them anyway!)
- Supervised access to internet (Like I would let my mom tag along to the mall with me!)
- Community education
- Parental guidance
- Parents must attend ABET classes (Good idea but it we will still outsmart them!)
In conclusion, it was an extremely good interaction and everyone finally came to a bit of understanding although some people still had reservations. It was a very good and heated debate from both sides supported by valid reasons, the kind of topics that need to be dealt with on a regular basis. The event was very successful and the attendance from parents was good as opposed to the youth because most of them were still at school. I just wish that maybe it should have been held over the weekend so that we could have a little more youth attendance since the event was mostly about them. It would have helped in getting the message across fast but nonetheless, let’s hope the parents learnt something and they will use the gathered information to help their children and communities.
Lionel is doing a very good job with community interaction and it would be really cool if he organised events like these at least twice a month so that parents and their children can engage in these things together so that they understand everything better. I would love to go again and this time, with more people. Although our youth attendance was very minimal and the others decided to go against the youth code and join the parent’s group… the group against SNI was shown flames! *Runs away before mmaThapelo calls my mom* I’m just glad everything turned out well. It was a day to remember!
More pictures from the event…