Rayhan Ahmed Topader:
People are spending twice as much time online compared to ten years ago with young people aged between 16 and 24 spending more than 27 hours per week on the internet1. In addition to this the 2015 Annual Media Monitoring report suggested that young people are spending more time playing and socialising online than watching television programmes and other research reports that 18-24 year old’s cite social media as their main news source.As many young people now have smartphones social media is often their main source of communication amongst friends and whilst the minimum age for registering on social networks is typically 13 years old young people younger than this often have social media accounts.Twenty-five years from now, the way in which we both input and observe media will have completely shifted. Keyboards on desktops,laptops, tablets and smartphones will become increasingly irrelevant, as interactions on what was once called social media will largely be voice-controlled. So how will these new social media trends affect the way we use social networks in 2021?.In the fall of 2020, we surveyed more than 11,000 marketers to ask them just that. We followed up with detailed interviews with dozens of industry specialists. Then we combed through the latest published reports and data from some of the most respected sources in the world.
At present all we do all week is look at our phone, reading articles, liking posts, sending emails or tweets or messages. In the future, we will disconnect by putting on Oculus virtual reality glasses when we get home and suddenly we will be sitting courtside at the Knicks game with my Facebook friends. You can’t make it to the beach in Italy on night after a hard day of work, but you can achieve a very similar emotional effect of being there via Oculus glasses while on your terrace with a glass of wine. VR helps you disconnect by putting you in a new, fully immersive world, and it will transform every industry concerts, sporting events, education, tourism, travel, business meetings, doctor appointments and more.Despite the spread of misinformation that it facilitates, social media has allowed people to stay connected, spread awareness about the pandemic, informed medical professionals and authorities about individuals perspectives and experiences of the virus, and mobilised communities for acts of kindness.Youth globally, including in Bangladesh, were seen turning this crisis into an opportunity, and have started businesses and various social initiatives. From designing and selling customised face masks through Instagram or gathering funds and volunteers to create community kitchens to feed the poor, social media allowed young entrepreneurs to reach audiences and customers beyond their inner circles and local communities.
Social media also created the space through which humanitarian and health organisations and authorities could spread accurate information and directives about Covid-19 across the globe something that was unimaginable during the last global pandemic a century ago.Similarly, technology and social media platforms helped both people and economies across the globe operate when almost all in-person activities came to a standstill at the beginning of the pandemic. Social media platforms allowed people to continue working from home, facilitated shopping, enabled communications with loved ones, and allowed online classrooms to take hold. Additionally, it facilitated a space through which the youth can engage creatively and forge ways for innovative products and services to reach the market.Meanwhile, when countries across the globe went into lockdown and confined people to their homes, it provided the young with the time and scope to enhance and learn new skills.Even though the impact may not be entirely visible just yet, this has also added momentum to a battered economy by creating business opportunities and as its extension employment opportunities and everything in between. Others have started channels on traditional social media platforms like YouTube and Snapchat.
Social media has provided the youth with an outlet not just to express themselves, share their talents and skills, and build and interact with communities that share their interests, but also the chance to earn through them.According to the United Nations, information and communication technology (ICT) has played a critical role in young people’s development on a global scale. Around the world, youths have used the power of technology and social media to engage in issues such as climate change, racism, sexual harassment, democratic rights, women’s empowerment, and so much more.With a young national demographic as its driving force, Bangladesh has been reaping the benefits of the exponential growth of social media and and other products of technology, particularly in the last decade. By being active players of the culture, economy and society at large, they have carved their own paths.While at the same time making their voices heard to policymakers.On the cusp of the glorious golden jubilee of Independence, Bangladesh is looking to shake off the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic and accelerate growth through investment, human capital development and enhanced productivity. Youth engagement through social media and ICT has the power to help the growth of the nation’s infrastructure of ICT and achieve the vision for Digital Bangladesh.
It is inspiring to see the youth globally engaged to bring about a transformation of society from climate to health to politics and digital technology and social media are at the crux of that. The pandemic has brought to the fore the power and potential of the youth in the digital sphere, and it is up to the decision makers of the world to make sure that it is explored and utilised to its fullest potential. Talking is the best way to protect your child from social media risks and ensure their internet safety. Talking gives you the opportunity to help your child, work out how they want to treat other people and be treated online for example, you can encourage your child to make only positive comments understand the risks involved in using social media.For example, your child might be tagged in an embarrassing photo taken at a party learn how to navigate the risks for example.if your child posts an identifiable selfie, they can reduce risk by not including any other personal information learn what to do if people ask for personal details, are mean or abusive online, post embarrassing photos of your child, or share information that links back to them.You also have the power to get through to your teen, even if social media messaging about dangerous challenges is reaching them. Have a frank and honest talk with them about the risks of participating in some of these challenges that’s the best way to make sure that your teen is equipped with the critical thinking skills needed to avoid endangering their own health.
Is your teen on social media? Probably. Participation on popular platforms like Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram is practically a prerequisite among the under-20 set. Digital screen time among teens has especially skyrocketed during the Covid-19 pandemic as they spend more time at home dealing with boredom. One way many teens are passing their time in quarantine is by participating in viral social media challenges. While many of these online challenges serve as harmless ways for teens to entertain themselves and stay connected with each other, others promote negative behavior and can be dangerous.
Writer and Columnist