Life outside the screen

BATANGAS — Filipinos are known to be one of the top users of social media in the world, so it’s no wonder that it has been embedded into the lives of children and the youth these days.

According to the Digital 2023 Global Overview Report produced by software company Meltwater in partnership with We Are Social, there are 84.45 million social media users in the Philippines as of January 2023. Of this number, 30.6 percent are identified as belonging to the 18-to 24-year-old age group. The top social media platforms used, as per the report, are Facebook, Facebook Messenger and TikTok.

But for 16-year-old Dya, a student leader in Batangas, a southern province in the Philippines, it’s an alarming trend that children her age are too enamored with everything that they see online. Dya is one of World Vision’s registered children in the Philippines, and is an officer of the Municipal Children’s Association in her community.

“One problem that I see in our community is the too much exposure of the youth in social media,” Dya shares.

For her, too much exposure of social media has a bad effect, saying, “Too much use of this has an effect on themselves, their studies and they do not contribute to any help needed in the house.”

She cites an example that in her class, some of her classmates would rather buy their time playing games on their tablets rather than engage in physical games or sports.

With this, Dya is determined to be a changemaker in her community where children her age live life outside the screen.

“Being a student leader, I hope to see change in having more active members of the youth, having dreams for themselves and for their community—where they are away from the harmful effects of social media,” Dya expresses.

But how can this be addressed? For Dya, kids need to be more engaged in physical activities that will benefit them in the long run.

“This problem can be addressed by spending their time on other things and activities where they it would benefit not only them, but the community as well,” she says.

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