Anti-Social Media
IDEAL: mother, child and no phone

I learned two new terms last week.

The first was ‘clickavist’ and it is mildly humorous. The second was, ‘unteachables’ and it isn’t.

Back in the days before social media and smart phones, clictavists might have been activists.

You know, people who actively work for political causes or social change. People like Seretse Khama, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King.

Instead of getting involved with hands-on action however, clictavists simply register protests by clicking ‘like’ on social media postings.

Not really the same as taking concrete action but at least they aren’t doing any harm.

The same cannot be said about unteachables.

That’s the name teachers have given students who have become so used to flicking through their social media that they can’t concentrate on lessons – or anything else – for more than a few seconds at a time.

They are creating serious problems for teachers and for other students who are being held back by the unteachables’ inability to learn.

Scary stuff, and according to teachers I have spoken with in England, they are fast becoming the norm.

I’m writing about this now because I would hate to see the same thing happen in Botswana.

The thing is, the technology is in place and school aged kids are not the only ones addicted to their phones.

If you are reading this piece in a public place that has internet access, you can test out what I am saying.

I’m betting half the adults around you are playing on their phones.

And if you are in a busy restaurant or café, at least one couple will be ignoring each other while one or both type away.

What I hope you will not see is parents ignoring their children while they talk into or tap on their phones.

That happens all the time over here in Britain and I believe it may be setting the stage for an unteachable epidemic.

Kids are not stupid, it’s just that it can be very difficult for them to unlearn lessons they pick up early in life.

The old saying, do as I say, not as I do, just doesn’t work.

Children are far more likely to copy their parents’ and other trusted adults’ behaviour than they are to do as they are told… especially when the two things do not match up.

That’s why I had to start wearing a hat myself when I went out in the midday African sun before I could have any hope of getting my daughters to do the same.

Anyway, if children learn from experience that their parents prefer playing on their phones to playing with them they are going to have serious confidence issues and they will welcome the chance to live virtual lives on social media.

They will also become very difficult to teach.

So, what I am saying is unteachables are both problems and victims.

The good news, though, is that I don’t really believe they are un-teachable.

They just need time and face-to-face attention from family and friends so they will feel safe in the real world… just like the rest of us do.

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