On May 30 some 30 youths from East Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia took part in a one-day Virtual Youth Camp on making a difference through social media. Most of the participants came from East Malaysia.
The day was divided into 3 sessions. Session 1 was about the principles of Digital Citizenship. This session emphasized that we are citizens not only of a country but also of social media, and that our behavior on social media can either build or break the people who see our posts.
Session 2, on Digital Outreach, was about dealing with the people behind every screen and every social-media account. These could be people with real needs, and good digital citizens should go further than random posting. Good digital citizens choose to add value, build relationships, and be intentional in what they do.
Session 3, on Digital Community, addressed the need for connectivity because, ironically, these days people are disconnected from each other. The session on Digital Community was about using social-media platforms, such as the Facebook Group, to connect youths who have shared interests. In our case, we want to create awareness of the power of social-media influence, and to equip youths who want to become advocates of positivity, hope, and many more good values.
There are 4.62 billion social-media users today—that is, 58.4% of the world’s population (https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2022-global-overview-report). So many social-media users are sufficient to spark a movement of youths going to places where people are—on Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, Youtube. We must be there to spread positivity, to generate good content, to publish purposeful information, and to do much more besides.
The organizers of the virtual youth camp hope that they have helped to equip youths to be effective counsellors, not “cancellers”, in the midst of the rising social-media-related traumas, mental-health issues, and disconnectivity. Youths are and always will be the hope of the future—the future that is technology-driven, fast, and creative, but complex and uncertain.
Our guest writer is Pam Dingal, Staff at Goducate Academy and Coordinator in Sabah Ministry.