Let’s watch social media addiction among children

Let’s watch social media addiction among children

Two weeks ago, at the Cape Coast Archdiocesan Youth Rally of the Roman Catholic Church at Assin Fosu in the Central Region, the Archbishop of Cape Coast, Most Rev. Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle, had cause to caution the youth of the church not to be TikTok “tokes”.

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According to him, rather than idly browsing social media sites, they should use social media profitably to learn new skills, search for valuable information and desist from the pursuit of unnecessary trends.

The Archbishop of Cape Coast stated: “Social media, especially TikTok, has made most youth idle, as they spend much time there instead of making productive use of the time.” In his assessment of the social media addiction of the youth, the Archbishop said many youth had become addicted to social media and were following trends that were not beneficial on pages, which only made them noisy and unproductive.

Social media has become a critical part of modern life today. It permeates every sphere of life, and all professions currently. Rural farmers use mobile phones to get information from agricultural extension officers; traders go to farms to lift produce from farmers and pay via mobile platforms.

Today, with entertainment, ticketing is easily obtained through a short code dialed on a mobile phone, with international and local flights all being booked online by a mobile device.

Food delivery and transportation services are all being done through these mobile devices, while others take advantage to market themselves or any service they are providing on platforms.

Indeed, at the recently held 3i Africa Summit, Ghana maintained its status as Africa’s hotbed for fintech innovation. Apart from the benefits, we also have platforms that showcase a host of entertaining but unproductive trends.

Jokes, ideas (some valid and some not so valid), music, dance and fashion are featured with a click, and one can spend the morning, afternoon, evening or a whole day just clicking away and enjoying what is termed ‘content’ on social media platforms.

Studies abound on the advantages and disadvantages of social media. Recently, Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, was interviewed and he said until his children were 14 years old, they were not given phones to use.

The interview with The Mirror revealed that discipline was key when the child was 14 and a mobile phone was given to him or her. Screen time was restricted and supervised with such children.

Discipline in mobile telephony use is key. The mobile phone is a device made to enhance what we do, however, when it becomes a distracting tool or a time-waster, it no longer serves its purpose.

Because the mobile telephone has become a utility device for communication, most people acquire it with no knowledge or proper information about its use. With one in every four young persons between the ages of 17 and 24 years not being in Education, Employment or Training (NEET), the only solace for those with mobile devices is watching unproductive content on social media.

That means that these youth are mortgaging their youthfulness on unproductive ventures, just watching content on social media. When they finally get employed, they may end up not being functional.

The Daily Graphic urges the Ministry of Communications to use its oversight in the space to roll out policies to sensitise the youth to the productive ways of using social media.
Churches, mosques, local and district authorities, and chiefs must invest in getting the youth to use social media platforms innovatively.

Indeed, we definitely cannot watch our youth waste their precious time on social media, otherwise we bury our collective future as a nation!

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