BIS #7181 Salesian Cooperators Organise Sessions on Digital Addiction at Salmiya

By Mrs Wilma Almeida Lobo for BISMumbai

In an ongoing effort to tackle the growing concern of digital media addiction among teenagers, the Salesian Cooperators of Kuwait Unit organised an insightful event titled ‘Social Media: Gen Z – Reboot Edition’ on 3 and 4 May 2024. 104 students from Grades 7 to 12 participated in this event at the Parish of St Therese of Child Jesus, Kuwait.

Recent studies have shown that digital media addiction is one of the most common addictions among young people. These problems can take on specific forms, such as social media addiction, online gambling, addiction to online shopping, pornography and so on. Due to the prolonged use of gadgets, violent gaming, and cyberbullying, it was noticed that the youngsters in the parish were getting individualistic and not socialising in the real world. Because of this diversity and the integral part that digital media plays in our lives, it can be difficult for teenagers to break free from their addiction without professional help. Therefore, this initiative by the Salesian Cooperators aimed to foster a positive change in the younger generation's attitude towards social media usage.

Under the guidance of the Rector, Fr Savio D’Souza, the event commenced with blessings extended to speakers, volunteers, and participants. The lineup featured esteemed speakers including Fr  Derrick Misquitta, Fr James Tuscano, Fr Johnson Nedumpurath, and Fr Lionel Braganza, alongside Fr Joe Fernandes, who shed light on the spiritual aspects of focusing on God in the digital age. Notably, Fr Fernandes touched upon the life and significance of Blessed Carlo Acutis, hailed as the patron saint of the Internet, for his profound interest in using technology for evangelisation.

The sessions delved into various facets of social media, with Ms Nikita Lewis, a speech-language pathologist, providing historical insights into media evolution and the advent of social networking platforms. Mr Christopher Pereira, a Salesian Cooperator and Retail Organization Development Consultant, offered practical strategies to combat social media addiction, emphasising the importance of self-awareness and time management.

The event featured engaging activities, audiovisual presentations, and games to drive home key messages. Participants responded positively, with feedback highlighting newfound awareness of the detrimental effects of excessive social media use. Notable testimonials from the participants included Trista David who expressed gratitude for the eye-opening sessions, and Shanika Thomas, who recognised the draining impact of social media on real-life interactions. Vincent Rego and Oswald Aranha concluded the sessions with a vote of thanks, acknowledging the collaborative effort of all involved in making the event a success. 

Overall, ‘Social Media: Gen Z – Reboot Edition’" stood as a commendable endeavour, showcasing the potential for community-driven initiatives to address contemporary challenges facing today's youth.