Magazine article New African

The Negatives of Social Media on African Youth

Magazine article New African

The Negatives of Social Media on African Youth

Article excerpt

There are so many benefits to being on social media today with Africans posting and re-posting positive stories about each other. But what about the impact Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are having on African youth--more so, the material that is not so positive and introduces them to stuff that is UnAfrican?

Social media has been here for a while and it's here to stay, whether you like it or not, or you are on it or not. It has simply taken over the world and it's good to see Africans embracing it. Thanks to having accounts on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, YouTube, Memes, you name it, people can discover what's happening around the globe just with a click or flip on their computer or phone.

Social media is providing all manner of opportunities--from business ventures to discovering new places to visit or just reading about the bizarre. Social media has indeed turned the world into one tiny global village. And as with life in any village, there are pros and cons to using social media. Certainly social media is also playing a key role (knowingly or unknowingly) in promoting Pan-Africanism. Just look at how Africans across social media reacted to the xenophobic attacks in South Africa early this year. Xenophobic attacks on other Africans by South Africans were nothing new, but thanks to social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, the sad saga was flagged more for the world's attention. See also how the news is quickly spread from country to country, the way businesses promote themselves, artists keep in touch with their fans, governments send out messages, promoters reach out to punters ... all these and more show how Africans are positively embracing and using social media. And like l said earlier, this is a good thing.

So what about some of the disadvantages?

Before the youth of Africa were introduced to social media, there was a way in which they behaved around adults. African children were respectful. They didn't answer back to adults. Everybody knew their place and adhered to the social rules. And even if things didn't seem fair, African children accepted that was the order of the day--that as an African child, there were certain dos and don'ts you were born into. No fuss. No questions asked. Just acceptance.

It's true the respect African children had for their elders started eroding before social media. However, as more and more youths across Africa gain access to Social Media, the situation is getting worse, or as Chinua Achebe would say, "Things Fall Apart"

Thanks to Social Media, young African children who should know better, now see nothing wrong in insulting their elders, especially the African politician. Ok, let me halt here and say I know you all know I am not a big fan of African politicians because I don't see what they are doing for us as Africans. So please, don't think I am on their side all of a sudden. Far from it! I do however think despite their failings as leaders, African children, and indeed all of us should still remember certain traditional ways, such as showing respect for elders.

Reading some of the comments posted online by opponents of both President Mahama and opposition leader Nana Akuffo-Addo is horrifying to say the very least. Before social media, no young person sitting in Ghana would dare draw naked pictures of our president.

So imagine my shock and disgust when I was nonchalantly going through my Facebook and bam, a picture of two little boys, both naked, with the heads of President Mahama and Nana Akuffo-Addo superimposed on them, appeared on my Timeline. …

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