Local parents take aim at social media

Local parents take aim at social media

David Castelanelli with mum Kerry-Anne Andrew and her son and Willetton SHS student Anton Andrew. Photograph – Aaron Van Rongen.

Are your kids spending too much time staring at screens?

Parents in Willetton know how you feel.

The Willetton Parent’s Group will be holding a meeting for all parents at Willetton Senior High School from 6.30 on Wednesday March 20 called “Social Media Distractions”, a workshop detailing the pitfalls of modern media.

But when it comes to youth-related media, it’s not all doom and gloom.

The workshop will be run by 2018 WA Youth Ambassador David Castelanelli, who is gradually building a career by equipping young people with the skills and confidence to take on the world.

He says there is a need to understand today’s forms of media and to not be controlled by them.

Social media can be seen as this trap that’s taking away a teenager’s focus but we need to change that narrative,” he said.

“Social media is important to many aspects of people’s lives these days and is only becoming more important.

“Social media is particularly important in finding work – a lot of companies, when looking for prospective employees these days, won’t even ask for a CV. They’ll just ask for a link to your LinkedIn page.”

In essence, though, social media use is only one piece of the puzzle.

Rates of anxiety, depression and other mental health issues are at record highs, with many reports suggesting growing issues in youth, with few providing solutions.

Alpha Motivation was started as a student motivation organisation aimed at avoiding those issues.

Mr Castelanelli said the organisation’s school program, Wolfpack, teaches students four main principles that are integral to their futures: self-motivation, goal setting, networking and resilience.

“We want to make young people more focussed, more skilled and more resilient, because they will need these when entering the workforce,” he said.

Focussing on years 10 through 12, Mr Castelanelli said he believed the program was pioneering self-development for senior high school students in WA.

“We’re really working with what students are already largely aware of which I think has been one of our big successes,” he said.

“We work on personal issues through ‘life hacks’, which is what the kids are calling them now.

“Basically, it’s about discovering those ways of hacking your own brain and subconscious thought to achieve better results.

“Not just results in school, but life in general.”

Mr Castelanelli said the workshop will be helpful for both parents and students, as getting to the core of why social media is addictive yet important involves diving pretty deep into social ideas.

“The main purpose of the presentation is to explain the psychology and principles behind why social media is so inherent,” he said.

“It’s just about making those decisions that lead to positive changes in people’s lives, rather than negative ones.”

For more information on the workshop contact Willetton Senior High School.