A couple of weeks back, I accompanied a friend to pick up his sibling from school. Going there, I expected the students I’d run into to do what I typically used to do after class: playing sports, running around, or participating in anything that involved physical activities before my sundo arrived.
What I saw surprised me. The basketball court was empty – a rarity when I was still a student. Almost every kid was on his or her phone, talking about who posted what on Instagram or who got the most retweets on Twitter. Heck, friends weren’t even conversing with each other because they were too focused on their gadgets.
The rise of social media definitely brings positives; never has it been easier to call a relative in the United States with the use of Viber or other applications. Never has it been easier to garner breaking news around the globe with the tap of a finger, which is now available with a simple refresh on Twitter.
But there have been some cons as well: kids are less involved in physical activities, they become so keen on making sure they’re popular on social media that it affects their attitudes, and cellphones have become sort of their lifelines – something that should only be applicable for working adults.
In light of that, I’ve thought of eight ways kids – or even teenagers and adults – who are addicted to social media can concentrate their attention elsewhere.
When I used to come home from school, my parents always got annoyed at how my uniform was soaked in sweat. That was because once it was dismissal, me and some pals used to partake in playground games all the time.
Sure, playing patintero, agawan-base, mataya-taya, or any other typical Filipino playground game may not be “cool” anymore. But is it still fun? I’m sure it is. Plus, it will help those kids who like eating extra fudgee bars lose a few pounds.
I’m not saying open a website and start a blog where you share your feelings to the world. But rather than making parinig who backstabbed you through your Facebook status, it might be better to just write your thoughts down on a private diary. Or, for the guys, a journal.
This can also be useful for those who prefer not to share their feelings with others. Writing down what’s bugging you – even if no one else will see it – can definitely take a load off your shoulders. And, hey, it might even help you practice for when you write school papers, in terms of getting your grammar and punctuation right.
Extra-curricular activities are very important. For those in college, it could be key in landing you that dream job you want. For those in high school, it could be critical to get you in your dream university.
But more than that, it gives you a chance to experiment in something you might have not known you’re actually good at. You like painting? Join the art club! Like sharing your thoughts? Join the school paper! Like to dance? Join the dance crew!
The experiences you’ll go through will be invaluable, and the friends you can make could help your social life down the road more than the amount of followers you have on “InstaG.”
This could come in really handy especially during exams week. We’re not saying delete your favorite social media app and never download them again; we’re just saying maybe it would be nice to take it off your phone for a certain stretch so you don’t get tempted to spend your free time roaming around Facebook or taking Snapchat selfies rather than doing more important things.
Why not give it a try?
This is more of a temporary solution, but you’d be surprised at how impactful it can be.
Nowadays, people take selfies of the food they eat instead of praying thanks before digging in. I won’t lie – I’ve done the same a number of times.
So once in Tagaytay, me and some friends decided to follow this tradition we heard of by stacking up our phones and agreed on the rule that whoever wanted their cell back before we were all done eating would have to pay the bill.
I kid you not: we had the most incredible discussions during that dinner. Imagine a couple of boys talking politics and religion in Tags.
Good conversations, not just small talk, is key to establishing lasting relationships. That’s harder to do when half of your attention is pre-occupied with what’s going on the social media world. Even just for those 45 minutes, keep your phones on the side and enjoy each other’s company.
I’ll be the first to tell you that too much TV is bad. But getting hooked to a certain TV show, even if you don’t have to binge-watch for 14 hours straight, has its positives.
There are many great shows right now that are terrific entertainment. Check out Kevin Spacey in House of Cards, or make sure to get a lesson in history by watching Da Vinci’s Demons. Like stories about the medieval ages and war? Dude, download Game of Thrones right now.
Also, would you rather check out the new Nike kicks your friends bought and posted on Facebook, or would you rather watch Nina Dobrev?
Wait, what? Okay. On to number two.
One of the greatest sayings ever goes, “sports has the power to bring people together.” It’s correct.
To others, sports looks like just a bunch of athletes playing a game. But it’s much more than that. You get to form a brotherhood with your teammates over time. You get to participate in a game filled with passion, raw emotion, and skill. Even for just an hour or so, you get to be part of something that can be very special.
And I’m not saying just play basketball. It can be volleyball. It can be football. It can be boxing. Heck, it could be squash. Playing sports is a great feeling every kid should experience.
There are little things better than reading a book. See, there’s just something about holding the literature in your hands, diving into a story and a world of imagination.
That’s what reading can do, and here’s one positive from the rise of technology that can make reading easier: you can now attain your favorite novels and read them through a kindle or a tablet.
Let’s just use this line by Jojen Reed from A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin:
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”
Now doesn’t that sound awesome?