Editor's Comment

How to use social media productively

SOCIAL media has reduced the world to a global village.
Youths can interact with people from other parts of the world by just a click of the button.
Through these interactions, youths can share ideas, acquire information and also be exposed to many opportunities out there.
Secondly, social media gives youths the avenue and opportunity to make new friends and also allows them to maintain their old friends.
On the flip side, the internet is an unregulated world that has no form of morals or laws to abide by. Youths are exposed to gory images of murder victims, accidents, rape cases or even video footages of gun shootings, violence, verbal outbursts, nudism and explicit sexual content.
All this bad content is in the domain of youths and when consumed for a long time can lead to serious mental breakdown.
As a result, youths will start having anxiety attacks and fear of the real world. Whatever they see is registered in their minds and they believe that the world is a bad place, yet that is not entirely true. More than 90 percent of the world is a safe haven with so many untapped opportunities.
Too much social media also leads to addiction. Society today is full of people sitting next to each other, not talking, but just staring at their phones.
Youths are spending more time with their social media friends than with their families, friends and loved ones.
When they wake up, the first thing they check is their social media accounts. Before they go to sleep, the last thing they check are the updates.
It also leads to uncontrollable obsession. People are obsessed with likes and comments and they will do anything to get them on a daily basis.
Everything they do, they post them on forums to get some form of approval from strangers. Some people adopt fake personalities to show the world that they made it.
They do things that they would never dare do in real life just to impress anonymous people. They work tirelessly to buy the latest outfits, eat expensive meals and visit exotic places just for a show.
Since they cannot get the same love in real life like they do in social media, they dedicate their lives fully to the social networks. Everything falls apart, however, when their popularity wanes and they may get into serious psychological problems such as depression.
These social platforms are also risky and dangerous and may be frontiers of crime. The first crime that comes to mind when we talk about social media is cyberbullying. Most people in social media fake both their persona and personal information. Then there are those who are actually themselves in social media.
Most times, the fake ones bully and humiliate the real ones. Others may argue that it is not that serious and youths are just having fun.
The truth of the matter, however, is that some people get affected, especially when the insults revolve around their insecurities such as looks, religion or social status.
Furthermore, it is quite easy to trace anyone using their social media information such as location, school attended and place of work. So, if a criminal wanted to target someone, the first place he will look for is on social media
Recently, cases of theft have been recorded from mobile money customers. The criminals get their details from social media.
Social media should be used to enrich youths by doing business and showcasing their talent like we see comedians who mimic high-profile people. In addition, they can earn a considerable amount of money by running podcasts and blogs.
Social media is also an avenue that they can use to showcase their talents. Youths can also run businesses through social media.
They may share whatever goods and services they offer to friends and in groups for a wider coverage. They can even sponsor their posts to reach more people.
Therefore, youths should not abuse social media but must concentrate on engaging in innovations that contribute to the country’s economic development as advised by President Edgar Lungu.

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