York ISSP Lecture 6th June 2017

Review of ‘Young People & The Media’
Given by The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr John Sentamu

As we looked out the window yesterday afternoon, we knew nothing would make us go out again in the pouring rain and the chilly winds – except of course another great ISSP lecture, this time by the Archbishop of York … and we were not disappointed!

To begin with Dr John Sentamu talked about how older people have always been complaining about the young. In fact, they have been complaining for centuries. Even in 4BC Plato complained about the youth of his day.

The Archbishop went on to say that, more recently, Punks and Mods and Rockers (all before our time!) have been described by the media in a negative way. The media speaks negatively of young people nowadays by using words such as ‘hoodies’, ‘louts’, ‘thugs’ and ‘yobs’. This creates a cycle of mistrust and fear. Interestingly, the Archbishop quoted that the only time that teenagers are given sympathy in the media, is when they die. This certainly gave us something to think about.

Next, he stated that the digital revolution is happening fast. Facebook, Twitter and Apple products, etc, have only been around in the last ten years. The Archbishop then asked us to guess how many times a person would check their phone each day. 10? 20? perhaps 30? No, 150 times per day on average!

It is now a fact that social media is affecting our daily routine and behaviour. If, for example, you wake up in the night to check for messages, news or updates you will then start to suffer from tiredness and fatigue in the morning. This can then affect our work and our mood. The Archbishop confessed that he left his phone on day and night during the Olympic Games, when he was notified of every medal and goal scored!

We need to learn how to control our use of social media so that we can express our own opinions. At this time, we have a perfect opportunity. We can ‘tweet’, ‘blog’ and share our ideas with the world and we can influence people to make the best choices in life. However, we can’t just do this by ‘friending’ and ‘following’. We need to have a voice and we need to use social media as a helpful tool, not as a hindrance.

The Archbishop says that we should never see social media as ‘un-Godly’. Even though social media has a bad reputation, it is actually the users that cause this, by using it irresponsibly. We should use it to express ourselves and to create a better world. We should use it to communicate truth, love, care and compassion. Social media is a tool – not the master. Wise words.

After speaking, we were eager to ask questions. All-in-all we had a fascinating insight into the life of the Archbishop of York and how he uses social media in a positive way. It was an evening not to be missed. Thank you to everyone involved.

Mary Y8