Jesse Nathan Kalange – Uganda

  • May 14, 2020 at 12:45 pm #2625
    Huong Nguyen



    Please write a short paragraph of less than 300 words on the negative personal effects of social media on youth in your community or country. Have you or someone you know experienced depression, cyber-bullying, or other negative result of using social media? How was it handled, if at all? What is the youth social media culture in your country? Can youth take a stand and change the culture?

    The rise of social media has meant that we as a global population are more connected than we have ever been in the history of time. However, our reliance on social media can have a detrimental effect on youth in our communities with the average checking their phone as much as 30 times a day for more than 5 hours.

    While social media platforms can have their benefits, using them too frequently can make you feel increasingly unhappy and isolated in the long run. Below I highlight a few points on the negative effects of social media to youth in my community
    Mental health

    Not only has social media been proven to cause unhappiness, but it can also lead to the development of mental health issues such as anxiety or depression when used too much or without caution. I have interacted with several youth around my community especially those in academic institutions and I’ve also been lucky to talk to a second-year student pursuing chemical engineering and he told me about his experience. He at one point wanted to commit suicide after a close friend blocked him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and this ruined a part of his future all because of his strong addiction to following updates posted by his friend and knowing too that the friendship was damaged just because they had a fight over a girl that they were both attracted too.
    Time Management

    Most of the youth employed in part time & full-time jobs in different companies and organizations today in my country have social media accounts. Unfortunately, many have developed the habit of checking their accounts multiple times during the day, even when they are at work. The time they spend on social media is much more than what they spend to accomplish work tasks. The time spent interacting with colleagues and developing quality work relationships is less as compared to social media making many youths quite unproductive and less innovative while they pursue their careers.
    Cyber Bullying

    In my community, I have witnessed cyber-bullying most times fond of by the adults who bully each other online and sometimes their targets are co-workers and students at lower levels and this includes aggressive and unpleasant emails, private messages and public comments, putting unflattering or manipulated photos of the bullying target online. Youth who are victims of bullying in my community often report these to the police but it sadly eventually affects their routine life.

    In your opinion, is excessive use of social media by youth an addiction? Are the damaging effects as bad as drinking or drugs?
    Knowing that an addiction is a dependence on substances or activities that are harmful to ones’ health or psychological equilibrium, I strongly agree that excessive use of social media is an addiction that can cause serious anxiety and metal problems for young people just as much as drugs and drinking can for example lately alcohol companies are also increasingly targeting women with social media marketing content something I can tag as dangerous for the young generation in the long run.

    It is said that use of social media reduces job and academic performance either by wasting time or by consistent mental distractions. Do you think this is true or false and why?

    In my opinion, social media actually increases productivity. For instance, spending a few minutes on social media would help employees recover and recharge or getting a mental boost to prepare them for their next work-related task. However, social media can be a distracting factor at work and can have a negative impact on work too.

    So, it is upon the employers and youth to find the most suitable way on how they can maximize the positive effects while minimizing the negative. One way of doing this as a youth and a graduate of Information Technology & Computer Science is to recommend companies, organizations and maybe academic institutions to invest more in designing and creating an intranet, a private electronic network that includes only the employees of a particular company to encourage interaction among employees and this makes that interaction simpler and could be productive too in a long run since the employees only interact with each other at work during work hours and will probably have the desire to keep it work related.

    Please write a paragraph of 400 words or less on whether social media played a role in government elections or politics in your community or country? Have you experienced “Fake News” in your country? Have you observed the attempted manipulation of public opinion using social media as a platform? Has any social media networking been shut down or censored?

    In Uganda, only a relatively small percentage of the population has access to social media. However, its importance in political communication and activism cannot be underestimated due to the power that manifests itself in hashtags, posts, videos and images.

    The Ugandan political elites on the other hand learned how to use social media for their political goals and campaigning in 2015 just before the elections which kicked off in 2016. At the official start of the campaign season in 2015, the activities of most political parties, candidates and their supporters intensified and the discussions heated up online.

    The camps of the three main candidates who were incumbent president H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, former prime minister – Rt. Hon. John Patrick Amama Mbabazi and key opposition leader then Dr. Col. Kizza Besigye tried to maximize the use of social media for mobilization and communication.

    Earlier in 2015 it was reported that the Uganda State House Public Relations department was hiring social media survey journalists to boost the campaigns in 2015 and 2016. We can also take a close look at the campaign slogan “Go Forward” then used by former prime minister – Rt. Hon. John Patrick Amama Mbabazi is said to be the work of an international team of experts that was used to boost his campaign and was vigorously used over social media all through out that period and I can say that this boosted his campaign and increased his online presence much more as compared to H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni .

    The intense activities on social media platforms provided channels for quickly reaching out to the public more specifically to supporters and potential voters creating room for easy and instant updates on what was happening on the campaign trail but at the same time they contributed rather little in terms of providing substantial information on the parties’ and candidates’ profiles, programmes and positions which was essential for the voters to make informed choices.

    Posts and messages on policy positions and political objectives were mostly overshadowed by discussions on which candidate is pulling the bigger crowds, personal attacks and ridicule, as well as all kinds of rumors and allegations of misconduct, manipulation and interference in the campaigns.

    During the elections time in 2016, there were lots of demonstrations by supporters of the opposition candidates who sighted several possibilities of irregularities that could arise from the voting processes and this caused the government to order for the internet to be shut down temporarily and affecting communication over social media.

    A lot of fake news was and has always been spread like wild fire over the past years via social media and created negative impacts probably because people are used to believing false information much more as compared to the truth and this at one point affected how information reaches out to the public.

    Please write a paragraph of 300 words or less on whether current social media “Influencers” are having a positive or a negative effect on youth in your country? Are they “Influencing” the right subjects and actions? Please be specific and provide names.

    Social media influencers have fundamentally played a positive role in public relations when it comes to reaching out to today’s audience. Influencers like radio personalities, television hosts such as Raymond Mujuni (NTV), Lwanga Douglas (NBS TV), Martha Kay, MC Kats (NBS TV),Canary Mugume (NBS TV), Sheila Nduhukire (NBS TV) fashion models such as Sheilah C Gashumba , make-up artists, foodies, comedians such as Alex Muhangi, musicians such as Bobi wine, Bebe Cool, bloggers like Frank Gashumba, Kakensa Media, Raymond Soulfa (Peng Peng), Ashburg Katto with the right social media strategy in place have caused Ugandan businesses to think beyond sales and engagement to achieve positive results.

    Influencers in Uganda have had the power to affect the purchase of specific products by reviewing them across platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram among others, effectively utilizing their authority, knowledge, authenticity, leverage or position of power within the industry to engage with their followers of whom a majority are youth.
    They have also run campaigns on their social media handles influencing the youth to help push the climate change agenda and advocate for safe and clean cities with the global hash tag #Cities4Climate.

    They have also focused on the use of social media to revolutionize aspects of election campaigning online, such as gathering donations, increasing youth political participation and civic engagement, for example this is the reason many youths in Uganda engage in usage of social media as a strong advocacy platform for political change.

    They have also helped to shape youth participation and engagement in public narratives and understanding of public affairs among others.

    Influencers in Uganda have boosted routine monitoring of government programs and utilization of public funds and this has always kept the narrative of ensuring that our leaders are held accountable and are forced to come out in the limelight to express their opinions.

    Is there a lack of positive role models in your community or country? Does social media make it better or worse? What kind of role models would you like to see leading the voice on social media? How can you and your peers make that happen?

    In my community and country, there are so many positive role models that youth wish to see leading the voices on social media and a close and clear example is popular musician Robert Sentamu Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine who is now a Member of Parliament and Inspirational Political and Human Rights Activist to the young generation in Uganda.

    He has made social media better as most of his campaigns and advocacy physically on respect of human rights has been tagged “unwanted” and “cheap politics” by the government and now social media has accelerated youth participation to speak volumes of advocacy for political change to the young generation through the “People Power Movement” that has hit waves of strong presence both physically and on social media with lots of support globally.

    Bobi Wine has motivated many youths to have a reality insight that we can use social media to achieve our advocacy for a better nation even though the Uganda Police Force and other security agencies oppress the rights of many activists physically causing loss of innocent lives and unnecessary demonstrations around the country.

    Recently, he proved to the population how powerful social media can be in this generation when he held an online music concert on Mother’s Day fetching a huge presence online with many of his followers watching the show. He hit a milestone of over 28,000 viewers on both Facebook and YouTube a number that no musician or influential person has registered since these social media platforms existed in Uganda.

    My peers can make this happen much more by engaging themselves in online campaigns with popular hash tags to advocate for respect of human rights, climate change, accountability of public resources, sharing opportunities to empower more youth in civic engagements, following many more influential leaders on social media and participating in webinars.

    Do social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook lead to narcissism – an effort to get self-attention? Is it leading to the “look at me” syndrome? How is that damaging to the poster and to the reader?

    Yes, Narcissism is damaging to the poster in a such a way that they get a sense of entitlement and low self-esteem, grandiose, exhibitionism which later becomes an exploitative attitude towards others and paradoxically to readers with the perception that they are the main focus of attention. They also engage in insidious, manipulative abuse by giving comments that result in the victim questioning their own behavior and thoughts.

    Narcissistic behavior can also involve lack of empathy given that it represents a clear sign that these people are unable to convince themselves of their own brilliance sighting a burning need for peoples’ attention and admiration and this could influence how we think about their personal and friendship relationships.

    Is it possible for youth to show the self-discipline to limit themselves to 2 hours a day on social media?

    Uganda has the world’s youngest population with over 78% of its population below the age of 30 and just under 8 million youth aged 15-30 further having one of the highest youth unemployment rates in Sub-Saharan Africa according to recent studies by the IMF and the World Bank. With this kind of situation in my country, it’s evident that many youths will always spend a lot of their time on their cellphones and computers engaging in a lot of unproductive activities on social media all because they do not really have something distinguishable to keep them so busy and productive through the day and therefore they opt to staying on social media for as long as 9 hours or more a day. After speaking to more than 4 of my panelists, I summed up and understood that it is difficult although achievable in a long run to ensure that youth can be able to respect their time usage on social media to utmost 2 hours a day. It’s funny yet serious how addictive it can really be because of the socio-economic differences.

    A positive aspect of social media is education and awareness. Please describe a few examples where youth in your community have learned about an issue or subject and reacted appropriately to address a situation because of a social media campaign.

    Climate Change
    It is one of the biggest environmental challenges of this generation and it is imperative that we act before it’s too late. In Uganda, several youth organizations have engaged young people in climate change social media campaigns following the global climate strike to push for continued advocacy and research to strengthen tree planting drives which sparked the hash tag on Twitter and Facebook #ClimatestrikeUg to rant and rave about environmental pollution which is an incurable disease that can only be prevented and encouraging youth to think green before everything turns black.

    Youth planted trees to save a few water bodies like River Rwizi. The youth through different organizations achieved getting support from the government through programs like youth in agriculture for climate change adaptation program, being able to participate in the Annual Youth Forum on climate change, participating in the International Youth Dialogue on climate change and enabling Uganda for the first time in Africa to host the High-Level UN Global Youth Conference on Climate change (COY13).

    Assume you are an employer looking to fill an entry level position. What would you look for when interviewing a youth candidate in person? Would the following matter?
    I. Is the candidate timely? Did he/she show up at or before any agreed time and ready to do the task at hand? Timeliness is a major indicator of professionalism.
    Timeliness of the candidate indicates that he or she respects people’s appointments, highly values the opportunity which lets him or her take advantage of more learning opportunities, lowers their stress as they get prepared for the interview and helps them focus which leads to a better career success.
    ii. Did the candidate study and get prepared for the meeting? Did he/she read materials ahead of time to get ready for a meeting or did he/she try to slip by and fake the way through with no preparation?
    Preparedness of the candidate is very important as knowing more about the company or organization, understanding your roles even before you are recruited aligns to your career goals and job priority/preferences which is a big bonus.
    iii. Did the candidate appear reliable and trustworthy?

    Beginning the interview with a firm handshake, maintaining eye contact while critically listening, answering questions smoothly and finishing precisely without fidgeting, standing straight to present yourself with confidence and holding your shoulders back are some of the things that indicated that the candidate was reliable and trustworthy to be recruited for the position.
    iv. Did the candidate speak with a combination of humility, authority and preparedness?
    Speaking with a combination of humility, authority and preparedness shows that the candidate is confident and is able to project their confidence in the right way because of their knowledge or experience.
    v. List other attributes you would look for when you interview the candidate for the job.
    Critical thinking, emotional intelligence and it would be a great idea to look through their resume to assess if what they have been saying through the interview is right and based on honesty and if they also have any other skills and trainings that they could have acquired that would give value addition to the job they wish to take up.
    b. Write a short paragraph about how to give a good oral presentation on an important topic with a power point slide deck.
    Making it memorable is the most important part of a good oral presentation. Making good preparation in advance, choosing the right audience, right topic that best suits you and one that you have diverse knowledge on is very important too.
    When starting your presentation, it’s a cool gesture to play a very short interesting video clip that can stimulate the mood of your listeners to take more interest in listening to you. It could be a famous popular comedy clip or just an exciting documentary based on the topic that you intend to present.
    Using clear slides with less content that can distract will also give your presentation a plus composed with a lot of creativity and style that draws the message to your audience as quick as possible to avoid the obvious and unusual questions after your presentation.
    c. Assume again that you are an employer looking to hire a youth for an entry level position. Would you check their social media? What kinds of things on social media would keep you from hiring someone?
    As an employer, I would check the social media accounts of the youth whom I intend to recruit to fill in a position in my company or organization because it would be very important for me to understand and get to know the type of person I will be working with outside the professional space since some people reflect different behavior on social media which might camouflage the real personality of this candidate. Checking his or her social media accounts would enable me to thoroughly scrutinize them and get to know exactly what would keep me from hiring them for example if they are doing drugs and are addicted, indulge in cyber-bullying, share sexual and immoral content, always make and share posts that trigger racism, disclosure of sensitive and confidential information over social media most likely from their previous employers among others.
    a. Ask your panelists if they agree that excessive use of social media can cause depression and why or why not.

    Yes, my panelists were convinced that excessive use of social media can cause depression or depressive episodes. In their point of view, this has multiple factors as listed below;

    One big factor is the aspect of comparing your own life with the content that people decide to upload on social media platforms. The uploaded content often shows highlights of the uploader’s life, e.g. posts from holidays, nice events, achievements, etc. As posts must have some “significance” and cannot be meaningless, your own life might look a bit boring, linear or irrelevant in comparison. This issue gets even more intense when uploaders brag and show off with their posts (to impress others), or if followers believe the uploaded presentation without questioning the uploader’s intention or look for different opinions. If you consume social media a lot each day, and you are constantly confronted with your life “loosing” in comparison to the displayed content, this can make you feel bad, worthless, boring, and hence can create (in extreme cases) a depressive episode or depression.

    Another factor that my panelists sighted is more straightforward. As it is true for all time-consuming activities: The more time you spend on social media, i.e. on your cell phone or computer, the less time you have to follow your hobbies, interests and passions – the stuff that makes you happy, and defines you and your character. If you excessively consume social media, this might create a lack of the things that you actually need: sports, arts, music, poetry, reading, etc.

    They also think that social media is not comparable to “real” social interactions. You might be spending hours or even days on the internet, on social media platforms, but you might still not feel satisfied in terms of your social needs. To meet a friend or family member in person is always a different deal than meeting them online: facial expressions are more precise, gestures appear differently, physical contact is possible, etc. They are convinced that this interaction cannot be substituted by online platforms. Therefore, people that excessively consume social media might think that they satisfy their needs, but they might actually not.
    b. Lead a discussion on cyber-bullying and “herd behavior” (i.e., forcing everyone to think the same way).
    Cyberbullying and “herd behaviour” which are connected are a major problem on many social media platforms. Almost every content like an article or video has a section for comments in which you find dozens or even hundreds of contributions. Many of them consist of facts and opinions, useful links and other resources; But most of the time, there are also hostilities, insults and even discriminations. Often times, single persons that posted their open opinion are then attacked in a very inappropriate way, and bullying mechanisms start – “many against a “few”.

    While bullying is a big problem with long history all over the world, cyberbullying and online herd behaviour have one unique characteristic: The perpetrator and their followers are isolated at home and therefore in a “safe” environment. They do not have to fear direct consequences, since they can simply shut the computer or cell phone off once they want to escape the situation. They can be harsher and nastier than in real life. And in many (not in all) situations, they stay anonymous and can conduct the bullying without any consequence at all. This anonymity protects the perpetrators and their followers, and hence increases the bullying.
    c. Do your panelists think there is a relationship between the amount of use of social media and lack of productivity, mental distraction and inability to get a job done?

    Yes. As explained in their responses, they are convinced that (excessive) use of social media can have very negative effects on the well-being and mental health of people. My panelists think that this does not only relate to depression or depressive episodes, but can also include a variety of other negative effects.

    This might depend on the individual, the time spent online, and the type of social media platform that is consumed. Due to the high demand for attention on social media, you need to spend energy and time while you consume it. This time and energy investment and the distraction that comes with it can lead to a serious lack of productivity and inability to get important jobs done in everyday life.

    For most of them personally, they admit that they definitely spend a lot of time on social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Telegram every day especially in comparison to other engagements that they follow regularly. They communicate through them every single day and sometimes just a few minutes but most times multiple hours.
    Though this communication is important for them and helps them stay in touch with many people from all over the world that they want to stay in touch with, the daily communication is extremely time consuming and exhausting.

    One of my panelists, David sometimes prefers replying to his messages on WhatsApp as “work”. As he narrates that quite often he takes a look at his phone and he can see over 65 unanswered messages on his “waiting list” on WhatsApp. These will all need to be answered! A big social and “self-made” pressure comes along with this and a huge potential for distraction when he must be productive and also be able to follow important tasks.
    d. Review the Kectil 15 Rules of Social Media Use. Collect the comments of your panelists. Do they agree or disagree with the Kectil Social Media Rules? Do they think they can comply with these Rules? Would they be willing to distribute them to others?

    As they read through the “Kectil 15 Rules of Social Media Use”, my panelists saw that many of the points were already reflected in their previous comments taken up. For example, rule 12 demands to “Critically analyse “Influencers” and social media “Role Models””, which most of them commented about.

    They all think it is imperative to reflect on the content that is presented, take other opinions into account and to build up a certain distance to the content – “don’t believe everything you see”! This is especially important given that influencers most of the time have an agenda (e.g. popularity, influencing opinions, earning money through advertisement and product placement, etc.). For this, they need to influence people as the name already tells.

    My panelists also sighted a related issue that is captured in rule 2, “Your posts should not be all about you.” It is important not to follow the usual routine that I observe on social media platforms, where “uploaders brag and show off with their posts (to impress others)”. If you include other people in your posts, speak good about them and emphasise friendship and social contacts, you avoid that other people feel small and that they compare the highlights of their own life to your “perfect” life. The 4:1 rule might be a useful orientation for this.

    Also other smart and reasonable rules are part of the list that address issues that they did not directly think about. Examples are rules number 6, 7, 14, and 15 – it is important to reflect on your own posts as well, and only upload things that are worth it, well compiled and written, and don’t hurt or discriminate other people. The maxim “Pretend your next employer is reading your post” of rule 7 sounds a bit business-oriented, but it touches an important point: Imagine that “all” people that are or might get important to you can possibly see the post. Is it still a good idea to post it? Or might you possibly regret it within your circle of friends, family, future employee, your own children, etc.? If you can truly say that it will be okay for everyone, it’s probably a good post to upload!
    And finally, all my panelists agreed that they would try and comply with the rules and would not mind sharing them with other youth both physically and on social media.

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