University of the West Indies student Miranda Blackman one of the presenters at the Activate Talk yesterday. (Picture by Christoff Griffith.)
Students are calling for cellphone and internet anti-bullying measures, as well as humanity to be taught in schools.
These views were aired at a student forum which also heard of at least one instance of suicide by a depressed student whose signals were found on Facebook.
Christina Hunte, one of three panellists taking part in Activate Talks at UN House, under the theme Connected Generation: Necessary Tool or Window to Violence, suggested society had lost touch with the concept of humanity which should be taught in schools and shared in public gatherings.
She also argued that social media took away from building bonds, but cyber bullying was both easy and addictive.
The discussion was organised by UNICEF in partnership with youth organisations and education institutions.
A 12-year-old Russian studying at Queen’s College, Yaroslav Davletshin, said cyber bullying was a pandemic that required urgent attention. He called for schools to take responsibility to “combat the problem”, for greater awareness among parents and children as well as anonymous surveys which would result in changes in the school environment.
University of the West Indies (UWI) student Marinda Blackman, said there was a desperation among her generation which led to some of the violence in society. She also called for guidance counselling to be provided because students were graduating, not finding jobs, having to repay debts and being told they needed to educate themselves further, resulting in a situation of desperation.
Barbados Community College student Rihanna Smith’s solution was for children to be encouraged to develop creative skills and become entrepreneurs rather than simply consumers of goods and services.
UNICEF Representative Dr Aloys Kamuragiye said a most recent multiple indicator cluster survey (MICS) showed 85.6 per cent of all 15 to 24 year-olds used the Internet.
“Children and young people you have the resources to solve many of the problems that you are facing, including increasing violence,” he counselled.
Interspersed within the activate talks session were three skits that featured Sunday Food Productions actors Shanice Wharton, Rikardo Reid and Carl “Alff” Padmore. They captured the attention of the audience with humour and thought-provoking messages about how cyber bullying and violence may be connected, even by innocent intention. (HH)