Social Media Impact On Young People: How Do You Feel Without Your Keyboard?

İdil İclal Bağdu, DOĞA SCHOOLSHi, I am Idil Iclal Bagdu. I am 16 years old and I am a 10th grade student. I want to tell you the story of my project. Until a year ago, I had a difficult time with making friends. I spent most of my time at home with my phone and computer. However, during the second half of last school year, I had very nice friendships with the new students coming to our class and I realised that the people around me had reduced my time on the phone and on the computer while making me more social, more communicative. Then I realised that most of my friends around me prefer to spend time on the internet rather than face-to-face.

I focused my project on my environment, on the rapidly developing technology and on the impact on the socialisation caused by our  technological era. The rapid increase in internet usage and the increase in the number of the internet and gaming addicts has caused many of us to realise this problem, and this has led me to design this project. I would like to point out that my friends who are addicted to games also have an important place in the project. I thought that I could do something about this issue when my peers, who have problems socialising, are usually addicted to games and I realise that this situation gradually deteriorates their lives.

Especially in this age range (13-17), I think that the difficulties in socialising will weaken the individual in the future, and weaken their relationship with other individuals. If we think that people are social beings, we can say that each of us needs each other, we need to communicate, share and make ourselves a social entity.
Technology can accelerate communication and as it accelerates communication it can have a negative impact on our socialisation processes. Of course, online games are not the only factor to negatively affect socialisation but, considering this age range and today’s technology, we can say that online gaming addiction has a large share of the blame. Based on the above, and since I need to complete a term project for my school this year, I thought I should do a study on this subject and I started to do research with the help of my guidance teacher. In this study, I planned to research the effects of game addiction in teens aged 13-17, by taking into account the negative and positive factors affecting the socialisation process.
The hypothesis of my study was that when making classroom planning, students who are game addicts and have a lack of communication skills should be seated with those who use the internet for other purposes, and who also have developed communication skills. This could then gradually result in a positive change for game addicts from a socialisation point of view, thereby improving their communication skills.
In my study, adolescents spent time on computer games for a long time, preferring computer games to social events, wanting to leave social activity groups and lying about computer use and duration, having anger management problems when not playing a computer game and feeling depressive. These are common traits of game addicts.
As a result of my research, I tried to determine the effects of online games in a certain age range and to offer suggestions for improved behaviour. My recommendation was to include addicted students in the same class with students who are not addicted. After a set period of time, we carried out individual interviews and measured participants on a game addiction scale, in order to better understand the socialisation processes of the students. The change in behaviour we measured reflected our expectations. The preparation process for the project was really tiring for me, but I can say that it was fun.
Therefore, when writing the conclusion section, my stress was reduced, and when the project was completely over, I started to apply and wait for the result. Even though I received a good score when the results were explained, I was not able to take part in the regional exhibition because my score was still below average. This made me a bit sad but, a week ago, I received a mail which lifted my spirits again, so much so I am now writing this story.

I hope you like the subject and the story of my project. If there is someone who is addicted to online games around you or you struggle to socialise, you could benefit from my project. I think everyone is likely to have such an acquaintance because of the technology of our time. I think that this project is suitable for today’s technology and its problems, as it leads to a decrease in socialising and communication skills.

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Children reflecting on fake news and Brexit

As children have not been consulted on Brexit and its effects in Northern Ireland – the Early Years group of children have come to their own conclusions.

This video captures 2 children reflecting on how they think Brexit is now Fake News! This came up as part of their discussions on their WYRED research project on Fake News.

 

 

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Dismantle Stereotypes!

Forthnight conversations on “Gender Stereotypes and Equality on the Internet”

Dismantle StereotypesIt is impressive how diverse the discussions of the WYRED participants about gender stereotypes and equality on the Internet were and what a high level of reflection there can be seen in the threads! They have collected a lot of valuable material, pictures, videos, stories, graphics and scientific reports.

There is a shared view that media, especially social media and the internet, not only reflect social gender stereotypes, but also massively increase these through the permanent and worldwide availability of the net. They give many examples of this, such as the ideal of the perfect – often sexualised – female or male body promoted by influencers on YouTube or on Instagram and there is an interesting discussion about the connection between these stereotypes and cyberbullying and hate postings.
It is clear that as a group they reject restrictive gender categories, and support the dismantling of stereotypes and respect for differences and diversity of people.
The fornight is closed now and we thank all the participants for their fruitful discussions. We will return to the Gender subject from May 16th to 28th – Let´s work on solutions then!

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The new horizon of democracy

The new horizon of democracy

“Today, it is not that unusual to hear of people talking about e-democracy.

It is a conventional term that describes an unconventional way by which citizens take directly part in the public life of their cities and countries.

E-democracy is an opportunity to reduce the gap between citizens and the government in the difficult field of communication. As a matter of fact, it widens the communicative horizon, in such a trying time when the only words seem to be ‘’walls’’ and ‘’borders’’.

An authentic democracy should give everyone the chance (and voice) to be heard and to participate in the public life, as well as take every opinion into account in order to try to do better and make the best choice for people.

The problem is that people feel the distance between the democratic institutions and themselves; conversely, e-democracy is a virtual space in which everyone can say ‘’I exist, I vote and I would like to take part to the ‘’decision making processes’’.

I think that e-democracy is the best way we could go. I have chosen this topic because it is a constantly evolving issue on which citizens like me should express their needs, and in my opinion, we have the right and the duty to do so.

In conclusion, it seems reasonable to assume that, although e-democracy, with its lights and shadows, is a hotly debated issue, it makes it possible to debate between different realities. In the light of that, hadn’t we better if we turned off the ‘’airplane mode’’ and start to get connected?”

Camilla Caciolo

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Digital addiction

Digital AddictionA group of students (age 16) at Hof Hasharon regional high school in Israel discussed the problem of “digital addiction”.

All students said they are “living in their smartphones” a lot of time every day, some of them many hours a day. Most of them would like to occupy themselves less with their screens. However, it was understood that it is not necessarily addiction in the clinical sense, but rather excessive preoccupation and difficulty in disconnecting. So the “addiction” actually refers to how the user copes when he or she needs to log out.

The crux of the problem is the difficulty of disconnecting, even though you know it would have been better to do something else. One student noted that his parents thought he was like a “clinical addict”. He was addicted to the Fortnite game, used to play for hours each day, and only after a severe pressure from his parents he now plays only on weekends. But most participants think that enforced restrictions and prohibitions are not effective. On the contrary, they achieve the opposite result, as young people will continue to do the prohibited things.

It was mentioned that parents often give a screen to children too early, when they are too young. The problem is not just health risk (to eyes, etc.). The problem is that we give up on social activity and that’s not good.

So how can young people cope with the problem? What can be done?

One student exclaimed “Revolution! Let’s start to boycott the phones! With time more people will join!” Another student expressed an opposite view: “I have no problem with such addiction. Being occupied with the screens is good for me. If wanted to stop, I would stop!

Other participants favored the solution of “voluntary disengagement” based on applications that automatically warn the user and recommend stopping after a certain time” Perhaps not the best solution, but better than nothing. A number of participants blamed the irresistible technology: developers want to to arouse excitement. That’s the goal. The apps give us something we need, excitement. “Everything now is fast and accessible, all is excitement, you cannot prevent it, it’s part of the progress!

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How a digital platform can save animals

October the 4th is World Animal Day in Turkey and Gizem Agyuz decided to share with us his story about how a digital platform and a campaign can have a deeply positive impact on animals’ life.

My name is Gizem Agyuz. I work as a Project Development Assistant in Doga’s office for EU Projects Coordination. I am 26 years old and I have a great love for all animals. I gained a bachelor degree in Biology from Marmara University in 2015. Naturally, my studies concentrated on plants and animals. Many lectures involved a number of animals being cut open to examine their anatomy; however, I did not attend those lessons. In order to examine their anatomy in detail, animals were first knocked unconscious and cut open; once they started waking up, were killed by having their aortic vessels cut.

I only attended the very first lecture. Myself and some of my friends in the same course could not remain indifferent. First, we talked to our friends to explain that these animals were not newly discovered species, and therefore there was no need to cut them open to examine their anatomy, as all the relevant information and images could be accessed on the internet. During one lecture, we spoke about the impact on the slaughtered animals.Unfortunately, the number of animals slaughtered for a single course was as high as 70!

This was not science, this was just slaughter!

Then we talked to the instructors in our department, and asked for this to be the last course using this appalling method of study. Unfortunately, we never achieved anything. We talked with animal protection associations and animal rights lawyers. We understood that we were able to reach more people by using digital platforms and we created a campaign via change.org. We shared our campaign with people from all over Turkey, and we managed to reach to many people. For the following year, our department decided not to cut animals oper for anatomy lessons.

After this success, I decided to become an animal activist. I worked as a volunteer in various non- governmental organisations, such as GREENPEACE, WWF, SOHAYKO, HAYTAP, etc.

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“I want my students’ voices to be heard and their thoughts to be listened to”

Banu Yurtseven, with her way of teaching and thinking, is to be taken as a good reference point.

Let’s keep our ears close to the ground for her story!

 

My name is Banu Yurtseven. I am an English teacher at Çamlıca Theological High School for Girls. I have been teaching English as a second language since 2001. I have worked in some of the EU projects as a local expert. I am interested in social science, too.

Çamlıca Theological High School for Girls is a religious school for secondary and high school students; in Turkey, religious schools have a vocational programme. The school also offers English preparation classes, which means that 9th grade students take 20 additional 1-hour lessons in English. The goal of our school is to make our students responsible for their learning and to motivate them to reflect on how they learn best, to make them look at their own language and culture from a universal point of view by expanding their vision and knowledge of the world, to develop their critical thinking and to enable them to see problems from various points of view.

In addition, they learn about their own religion from a wide range of perspectives.

As a teacher, I want my students’ voices to be heard and their thoughts to be listened to. Since teaching on its own is not enough, we have to nurture their emotions and motivate them to become equipped with the necessary skills required today. They should gain a positive overview of different people and cultures.

To work with girls is very advantageous as they are calm, easy going, hard-working, ambitious, gregarious and considerate. They are mostly able to remain neutral before forming their opinions. They are able to find creative, ingenious solutions to problems. They are good at developing projects and use their creativity to tackle problems.

Nevertheless, teaching in a Theological High School can present the occasional difficulty. Sometimes it is difficult to engage students with political or universal subjects, because of their cultural and religious bias and preconceptions. They need to develop trust in you and talk in a rather cautious manner, as they combine typically adolescent behaviours with conservative lives. Unfortunately, their parents do not let them talk a lot. They are especially very sensitive about Islamophobia and do not want to discuss it. As girls, they want to express themselves but they are confronted with obstacles and dilemmas. This is why at every opportunity I encourage them to voice their opinions, sometimes discuss newspaper columns at break times, ask their thoughts about daily news etc., in order to encourage them to talk so that they can develop more self-confidence. With the help of EU projects, I try to encourage them and teach them to excel at public speaking, project management and ICT skills. On the other hand, I try to engage them with different activities and platforms, in order to start conversations with other young people. The EU project platforms motivate them to have their voices heard, which also strengthens their confidence.

Our lessons include debates and MUN classes (Model of United Nations), which provides them with an opportunity and the confidence to express themselves, as well as hope to be able to become brave, self-confident mothers. In my opinion, young people should learn to express themselves at an early age, for them to be able to make use of those skills during the rest of their lives.

As educators we must support them in the process, teaching is only a small part of our job.

 

Banu Yurtseven

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Kick-off meeting of the SORAPS Project

The Consortium members of the SORAPS (Studies of Religions Against Prejudices and Stereotypes) project have gathered from 23 to 27 November 2016 in the wonderful scenario offered by the University Ca’Foscari in Venice, where the meeting was held.

The implementing Consortium, which is currently led by the University Ca’Foscari of Venice, is the same involved in the former IERS (Intercultural Education through Religious Studies, https://iers.unive.it/) project, which already partnered with 4 prestigious European educational institutions: the Universidad de Salamanca in Spain; the Universität Augsburg in Germany, the Ecole pratique des hautes études (EPHE) in France and the Syddansk Universitet in Denmark, besides the leading NGO Oxfam Italia.

The SORAPS project has introduced a significant innovation compared with its precedessor: the establishment of an active partnership with 3 high schools from Italy, Spain and France, responsible for the piloting of the educational programs. These are going to be developed upon the outcomes of training activities for the teachers, created within the project and made up of several modules, namely:

  • Sense and Methods of Teaching History of Religions in Schools;
  • Introduction to the Main World Religious Traditions;
  • Religious Plurality in Contemporary Societies & Media;
  • Fundamentalisms and Human rights in the religious dimension;
  • Use of innovative ICT methodologies;
  • Managing of Multicultural classes;
  • Methods of Teachers Training.

Kick-off meeting SORAPS Project