Clara Puni Nyamesem, Executive Director of Child and Family Life International
The Executive Director of Child and Family Life International, a non-governmental organization (NGO), Clara Puni Nyamesem, has urged youth to take advantage of the many opportunities available to learn a skill and add value to their lives.
She urged her to focus on the myriad opportunities social media offers, rather than promoting the negative and focusing on what she said was beginning to become the new normal.
She cited sites like LinkedIn and Alison as social media platforms that offered professional training with certification, while YouTube and Facebook had many skills and educational materials that supported learning, branding, networking, and skill development.
“We don’t typically see much productive use of social media among youth; Rather, it is mainly about the promotion of pornography, betting, gambling, smoking and behaviors that are culturally unacceptable, such as the display of excessive piercing by young ladies, men with earrings, insults and nudity,” she said.
Ms. Puni Nyamesem said the above while speaking to the youth of St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Amakom on “Today’s Youth and Social Media” during their Youth Week celebration.
She also urged the youth to present the good and acceptable norms, traditions and Ghanaian culture to the outside world on social media, rather than blindly copying what they saw on social media.
She urged youngsters to balance their social media activity with human interaction to avoid screen addiction.
In her opinion, screen addiction had become a problem among young people worldwide, with dire consequences for their health and social relationships.
“Screen addiction affects the brain area responsible for emotional control, self-regulation, and decision-making. It’s like alcohol and drug addiction,” she explained.
She mentioned some side effects of screen addiction, including relationship problems, poor academic performance, financial drain due to accessing data packages, and job loss as some of the consequences of screen media addiction.
Ms Puni Nyamesem called on gatekeepers and regulators such as the National Media Commission, the National Commission for Civic Education, the Ministry of Information and the Ministries of Chieftaincy and Culture and Gender and Social Welfare to create a framework to regulate activities and content in social and traditional Media, particularly those promoting foreign content such as telenovelas.
For her part, former Ashanti Deputy Regional Minister Elizabeth Agyemang, who is also executive director of the People’s Mother Foundation, urged parents to pay much attention to their parenting responsibilities to protect their children from harm and outside influences such as the influence of on-screen media and peer pressure .
She said parents should limit their children’s access to screen media and inculcate good Ghanaian values in them, and urged youth to be disciplined in dealing with others.