Why Taming Social Media Makes Sense

By Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor At Large | January 03, 2013 | @ChiefKMasimba

Social media, in its gazillion manifestations, is eating up one of the most precious resources that we have in our lives: time. I think social media tools are great, they’re making the world flatter thus facilitating a faster exchange of information and ideas. That’s the ideal. The reality is most users  wallow in social media spaces killing precious amounts of time which they could devote to other things to advance their lives.

The amount of time being wasted is growing dynamically in tandem with the rapid growth in hyper-connected, hand-held devices. Sadly there is no accountability for all these huge amounts of wasted time: call it an investment into a digital vacuum, a dark hole with no echo. If anything, most people act all busy frittering their lives away all in the name of wanting to stay connected to the world round them – all much ado about nothing.

Indeed we use social media platforms  for a number of things: production, marketing, leisure and connection. But the latter two dominate the space. This time-wasting is a real problem with terrible consequences for productivity at personal and national levels especially in countries that are experiencing widespread connectivity for the first time in the age of social networks. Use of social media for education or meaningful content creation is miniscule.

It’s not being anti-technology to say that people – especially young people – need to be more conscientious of how much time they spend on social platforms. Putting oneself on a social media diet is the best thing that you can ever do for yourself. Maybe it’s time for an application that measures the worth of social media engagement.

In our hyper-connected social media addicted universe, digital literacy is becoming critically important. Most of us dabble in the social media space without any jot of awareness of how much it takes away from our lives. Something that we can never redeem. By squandering time that we have in the present, we’ll never be able to unearth the opportunities that technology promises. It’s critical to give people, particularly young people, tools and know how to handle social media.

As Benjamin Franklin put it, lost time is never found again. Time is the coin of life and time is what our over-obsession with social media squanders with an insatiable ferocity.

Girl Child Creativity Project Launched

By Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha

Harare, Zimbabwe – A new project, Girl Child Creativity, aimed at mitigating the under-representation and unbalanced participation of young females in the arts in Zimbabwe was launched last week in Harare.

The project which is a brainchild of  internationally acclaimed performance poet and writer, Mbizo Chirasha and veteran filmmaker and broadcaster, Agnes Gudza, is aimed at enhancing the ability of girl-children to develop themselves mentally and creatively.

“The aim of this project is to reduce the under-representation of young women in the creative industry. We want to teach the girls how to find opportunities with their talents and develop them. We want to avoid the syndrome in the country currently where people want to fly yet they can only crawl,” said Chirasha.

“We are going to have motivational, poetry and writing workshops. In future, we are going to have talent realization programmes where we going to have accomplished writers, musicians and promoters talking to the girls on how to identify and nurture their talents.”

Agnes Gudza, operations manager of the project and renowned filmmaker, said that the project was aimed at empowering the mental capacity of young girls so that they can become creative in all aspects of the arts and their lives.

She added that the purpose of the programme is to reach out to a lot of girls especially in the rural areas.

“We want the girl child to improve the state of their lives and livelihoods through the ability to be creative. We are also going to make a film on the importance of empowering the girl-child. The script for the film is already done and is currently being edited,” said Gudza.

Chirasha said GCC is working in collaboration with the US Public Affairs, the New Ambassador Hotel, the Girl Child Network in Zimbabwe as well as Chiedza Childcare Centre to reach out to disadvantaged and marginalized girls in the country. He said that the first part of the programme will be rolled out in Harare before moving to Gweru, Masvingo and the rest of the country.

Using Family Skills Training to Combat Substance Abuse

Parenting style and family dynamics can play a key role in drug use prevention among young people. Families can act as powerful protective forces in the health development of children and adolescents. In the same vein, families can be a destructive factor in the wellbeing of children and adolescents and can indeed contribute to substance abuse and risky behaviour.

In light of this, family skills training can be utilized as an important intervention to prevent substance abuse. Family skills training basically help to promote a familial environment of trust and care in order to build full relationships which can help children and adolescents avoid substance abuse.

According the recently published United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) “Guide to Implementing Family Skills Training Programmes for Drug Use Prevention” family skills training programmes combine: (a) training of parents to strengthen their parenting skills; (b) training of children in personal and social skills; and (c) family practice sessions. Continue reading