THE Government Minister who holds responsibility for the nation’s children is urging young people to stay away from the dangerous act of cyberbullying.
Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steve Blackett, told a group of future leaders at a Child Care Board (CCB) organised Adolescents and Cyber Abuse Youth Seminar, that they should be using electronic gadgets for positive use to move them towards their future goals, instead of bullying their peers.
“Cyber abuse and cyberbullying affects your self-worth, which is so vital to your happiness. If you don’t feel good about yourself, then it is going to be somewhat hard to feel good about anything else…
“Electronic gadgets are trending, the Internet is trending, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram are all trending. In addition, what society or persons who are deemed influential in your sphere of life deem as worthwhile or a failure, also impacts on your self-worth,” Blackett said.
The Minister encouraged the students gathered at the St Peter Almond Beach Resort on Wednesday to remember that their bodies and minds are worthwhile and that they should make informed choices about their total health. He told them not to be pressured into negative experimentation, including early sexual activities, violence, the misuse of illegal substances and other negative trends being seen on social media.
“Stand firm and have a positive self-worth. Ensure that whatever you do is for the betterment of others,” Blackett advised.
The Minister also reminded that their teachers also play a pivotal role in assisting students to develop their self-worth, through encouraging them to visualise their future of lifetime goals and achievements.
“Your self-worth is connected to your self-esteem and your self-concept. Your self-esteem – which may be high or low – involves a personal judgement of worthiness that indicates the extent to which you the individual believe yourself to be capable, significant, successful and worthy.
“Your self-worth therefore involve respecting others along with feeling a sense of peace with yourself about whom you are. Each of you gathered here this morning is unique and special.
“Don’t compare yourself with anyone else. Students, all of you have the potential to become a leader in your sphere of life, but you need to want it,” he said.
In delivering remarks, Director of the CCB Joan Crawford explained that while the month of May is used to bring to focus issues that affect the nation’s children, adolescents’ use of technology was chosen to be discussed this year, with the view of imparting knowledge to students on the responsible use of social media.
Students from secondary schools across the country attended the workshop facilitated by UNICEF.
Crawford said that the CCB, its parent Ministry, and by extension the Government of Barbados, believe that keeping children safe and protected should always be the first goal in every family, community, and the country as a whole.
“It is on this premise that the work of the Child Care Board in the months ahead will focus on adolescents and technology, but more specifically on adolescents and cyber abuse or cyber bullying, as technology impacts all of our lives.
“We, who are in leadership positions, wherever and whenever possible, should offer appropriate and sound advice to our children who use technology in the various forms. Our purpose today is to start this discussion with our young people,” Crawford said.
Entertainer Carl Alf Padmore and his team delivered a dramatic presentation to the students on the effects of cyberbullying.