Using advanced technology to nurture our future leaders

Friday, May 22nd, 2020 00:00 |
Digital world. Photo/Courtesy

Hesbon Owilla

Advanced technology has over the years, impacted the way we live, work and relate.

The youth, especially the digital natives, are a privileged lot as they are at the cutting edge of technology. 

Yet, while the youth are more informed on various issues, thanks to technology, they exist on the periphery in terms of governance. 

Technology can be a lot more useful in holding power accountable given that most politicians are increasingly using the social media spaces as their official communication platforms.

However, the ubiquitous nature of social media has put the youth on the path of enjoyment with little progress.

To get to the youth, one is told to find “interesting” ways to do so. It is proving hard to make useful content interesting and fun for this demographic group. 

But luckily using algorithm-driven platforms, advertisers and content creators can tell what the youth are interested in using digital footprints.

Most young people are known to dismiss politics as boring , yet the very politics affects their lives. 

It is good to know which player Arsenal is acquiring, but it is even pertinent to how your future is likely to be like  under the country’s leadership.

The youth need to use the technology advantage to impact on the country’s politics by amplifying their views and needs.

They can also use the technology to get a deeper understanding of the country’s political system.

This could save them from blindly consuming propaganda and skewed content spewed by blogs or laymen on social media. 

If our youth do not change, we run the risk of raising a generation that has zero civic duty consciousness if the stories that dominate our public digital spaces have nothing that would help provoke conversations that make the society that we live in better.

Most young people have generally been found to have universal needs which include “saving money, buying a house, family, friends, creativity, kindness, caring, being fulfilled and having new experiences”, according to various studies.

In attaining these universal needs young people are motivated to consume news and generally media along the two themes of progress and enjoyment.

Sharing stories of a celebrities doing this or that excite the youth. But what next?

The progress element is clearly missing. What value does this information to the life of the youth? 

It is the political, economic and public interests issues that have a bearing on how much they can save, the extent to which they will be in a position to own a house and essentially their future. 

Granted, new technologies and especially new media have made interactivity possible and young people can easily call their political leaders and role models to question.

Given that they form a sizeable voting block going to 2022, you would expect them as a generation that would probably be voting for the first time to be a lot more critical of the public interests issues that we are facing today. 

The onus is on the society to play its part and get these future leaders from the gossip spaces, non-public interests stories and entertainment from all over the world or better still dominate these spaces with public interests issues by making the significant, useful to them, interesting and a must-know. —The writer is a PhD candidate in political communication

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