Friday 2021-01-22




By Bongekile Matsenjwa - STEM GIRLS | 2020-10-18

With all that is happening all around us, it is important to frequently unwind and reboot.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Now and again, take time to spend on things that you enjoy and refresh you. Your mental health needs it. Talking about mental health, World Mental Health Day is observed on October 10, every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilising efforts in support of mental health.  The day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.

Businesses are moving to the digital space as this is deemed as the new and effective ways of working. Digital life is augmenting human capacities and disrupting eons-old human activities. Code-driven systems have spread to more than half of the world’s inhabitants in ambient information and connectivity, offering previously unimagined opportunities and unprecedented threats.

As emerging algorithm-driven artificial intelligence (AI) continues to spread, will people be better off than they are today?

 Some of the concerns that come with AI include people’s experiences on loss of control over their lives, data use and surveillance in complex systems is designed for profit or for exercising power, the AI takeover of jobs will widen economic divides, leading to social upheaval.

 People's deepening dependence on machine-driven networks will erode their abilities to think for themselves, take actions independent of automated systems and interact effectively with others.

 Some of the suggested solutions to these concerns include developing policies to assure AI will be directed at ‘humanness’ and common good, alteration of economic and political systems to better help humans ‘race with the robots’ and improving human collaboration across borders and stakeholder groups.

 Technology has also taken over most of our times. People spend time on their phones, on social media and there is reduced interaction with other people. Some people are concerned about their social media image and creating a ‘perfect’ life of themselves.

 Pressure comes from the constant need to prove ourselves to people or try to be better than the other person we see on social media. This can create a lot of mental disorder. It is important that we take care of our mental health.  If you feel technology is interfering with your life and you’re struggling to get a balance, try setting limits for yourself – plan what you’d like to do instead then ask did you enjoy yourself or feel a sense of achievement? If so, plan your next goal. Do you find that you are using technology just for the sake of it even if you are feeling bored or not enjoying it?

Do you feel overwhelmed when you stop using technology? Talk to someone about how you are feeling. Most of our online time or digital activity involves sitting still for long periods of time. This can stop us from taking part in physical activity which is very important for our health and well-being. So, scheduling in some time each day for sports and exercise is a great way to break up our screen time with healthy physical activity. If your online world is making you feel self-conscious or sad – take a break or talk to someone.

Once you have posted or shared information online you are not in control of it. Would you want your parents or teachers to see it?

 If not don’t post it. People may not be who they say they are online, don’t share personal information with people you don’t know. Remember that the people you meet online might not be open about their age or their true identity.  Sometimes you may come across something stressful online. This could be pictures, videos or audio or writing which can be generally available or may be something directed at you personally. It’s not okay for people to bully you online. Talk to an adult you can trust if this happens; this could be a family member or carer, school staff member or another adult. You do not have to struggle in silence.

Your mental health is a priority.

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