‘Come Out to Play’ at Our Games Night

It’s been almost a year since the forums began for Young People Insight, giving young people a comfortable space to speak their mind on topics and issues that are related to them.  However, the forums are just one element of YP Insight.

Earlier this month, we held the first poetry night, giving young people a chance to speak their minds through poetry or spoken word.  Next month, we will be holding our first social event to see out the year and give young people the chance to interact with each other in a social setting.

After speaking to some of the individuals at the forum, we decided that it would be a good idea to have a games night.

‘Come Out to Play’ will be happening on December 20th from 8.30pm in Project B, taking place immediately after our final forum of the year.  It is a free event for all those 18 and over, where you can play games, win prizes, munch on some food, and meet new people.

It’s going to be a fun night and a brilliant way to end 2016 strong, before starting another year of Young People Insight in 2017.  So bring a friend, and come out to play with us.

Get your tickets for ‘Come Out to Play’ at Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/come-out-to-play-tickets-29873760221?utm_term=eventurl_text

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Discussing Social Media at the YP Insight Forum

Social media can be a lot of fun, just like our discussion on social media during the latest Young People Insight forum on November 15th.

We began by talking about our favourite aspects of social, which social media platforms we use and why we use them.  All of us used a combination of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube, with some being users of all of these platforms.  However, Chantelle said that she doesn’t really use social media unless it’s for work purposes.

Andrae and Alana both use social media to promote their products – Alana also added that “it’s about sharing my mind with the world.”  This then led on to a good point being made by Andrae, who believes that other people use social media for validation, while Chantelle thinks that it’s a rate of success for some people.

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Being asked to describe social media proved to be a slightly difficult question, but resulted in some thought-provoking and unusual answers.  The first thing Andrae thought was DJ Khaled, but on the other end of the spectrum, Alana first thought of Dante’s Inferno.  Kyle would call it  a network, and Alana would call it an “encyclopedia of the world.”  However, Hakeem also thinks that people set themselves up on social media and share too much personal info.

Randy made the point that it has positives and negatives, which led on to the question of what we thought the positives of social media are.  Responses included:

  • News
  • The opportunity to talk to people in other countries
  • Self-expression
  • Knowledge
  • Marketing
  • Making money
  • Motivation
  • Escapism.

We then discussed what we thought the negatives were.  They included:

  • Weird people
  • Superficiality
  • Pedophiles
  • Destroying people’s lives
  • Child shaming
  • A false sense of bravado.

Andrae then asked if you think it’s okay to share your opinion on social media.  We all agreed that it was, because as Chantelle says, “It’s just an opinion.”  We also agreed that sharing an opinion is different to bashing others, which can often become the case on social media platforms.  “You can’t control what someone thinks,” said Rhianna.

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I then asked why social media has become so cruel and why cyber bullying is so common.  Jason believes that it is because social media is an extension of real life, and there’s bullying in real life.  Kyle thinks that it’s easy for people to hide, while Alana reckons that it is because people think the more heartless they are, the more cool they are.

However, Chantelle made a brilliant point, saying that she thinks we are cruel in our heads, but we simply wouldn’t say what we’re thinking out loud.  It just happens that people express those thoughts on social media.

It was interesting for me to hear the views of others on why they think so many people have created fake social media lives.  The answers I got back were:

  • To make them feel better, as they have self-esteem issues
  • People being afraid to show who they are
  • Lack of self-awareness and perhaps not knowing who they are
  • Wanting to be a social media celeb
  • Wanting attention
  • Money
  • It is the only way they know how to express themselves
  • Insecurities.

This resulted in catfishing being brought up by Alana, who thinks that it might be about freedom.  Rhianna disagreed, as she thinks it comes from a creepy place and believes that it’s more about escapism.

We also touched on the negative effect that social media has had on physical communication – “It’s causing physical communication systems to shut down,” expressed Alana.  Yet Kyle reckons that “it’s only if you allow it to consume you… it’s all about balance at the end of the day.”

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Kyle also added that it’s about the upbringing you’ve had, which may have had an effect on developing how you communicate.  However, Chantelle rounded up this point by saying, “Society ends up growing you and that’s when it takes you off the road you should have been on.”

My final question to everyone was whether they think social media is good or bad overall.  Many of us thought that it was both good and bad – “I think that it’s 40% good and 60% bad,” said Alana.  A few thought that it was good – “You can find out a lot of stuff on social media,” says Darnell.  And there were some who thought it was neither – “It’s too complex.  There’s a lot of good and lots of bad, but at the end of the day its social media,” said Rhianna.

It also led to a point being raised by Jason, which really made a lot of us think.  He said, “I think we’re getting confused between social media and social networking,” which we hadn’t stopped to consider.  Would you say that confusion is where some of the problems lie?

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After so many great discussions, we’re going to be doing a round-up of Young People Insight in 2016 and discussing how we can take the platform further during next month’s forum.  Join us on December 20th from 6.30-8.30pm in Project B for the forum, which will be followed by our first games night that will be going on till late.  Don’t forget to tell a friend to tell a friend.

Stay updated with Young People Insight by following @YPInsight on Twitter, following@youngpeopleinsight on Instagram, and liking Young People Insight on Facebook.

Info for November’s Young People Insight Forum

After three forums that were very relationships focused, we have moved on to a topic that would fit more in the technological category, but has a link to relationships nonetheless.  Communication was one of the focal points when discussing relationships, and that is what this month’s topic is really all about.

Social media is centered on communication, whether we are communicating directly with our loved ones or communicating our thoughts through a post.  Social media is all about sharing and creating content for people to see, while also keeping in contact with others and developing our network.

What may have taken longer to achieve can now be done in over half the time through cyber space.  We can promote our businesses for free, make contacts from around the world and build our careers, simply by tapping on a phone, computer or tablet.

Image by geralt and used under Creative Commons License
Image by geralt and used under Creative Commons License

Despite being incredibly useful, social media is also a breeding ground for all kinds of negativity, cruelty and evil.  How many relationships have failed because of misunderstandings created by social media?  How many individuals have been subjected to cyber bullying or vicious cyber attacks by unknown faces behind a screen?  How many of you have become addicted to social media, lessening your ability to interact with others face-to-face?

We’ll be discussing both the good and bad sides of social media, something we as have young people have become reliant upon in our everyday lives.  If there are any questions you would like to ask or any aspect you would like to focus on, come ready to bring that to the discussion as well.  After all, this your platform just as much as it is mine.

For all of you who are 16-25, don’t miss the Young People Insight forum on Tuesday 15th November from 6.30-8.30pm in Project B (1 Bell Hill, Croydon CR0 1FB).  This is the chance for you to speak your mind, munch on some snacks and meet new people.

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Stay updated with Young People Insight by following @YPInsight on Twitter, following @youngpeopleinsight on Instagram, and liking Young People Insight on Facebook .

Being Inspired by Young Talent

Young people are regularly villainized by the media and it sickens me.  You can be sure that the wrongs committed by youth will be reported, but the good things they are doing are often kept under the radar.  Don’t you find yourself asking why that is?

I feel privileged to know some truly amazing and talented young people, who are doing great things and inspire me.  Unfortunately, not enough noise is being made about them, when everyone should know their names, because they are going to play a part in changing the world and taking it by storm.

dsc_1074On Wednesday 26th October, I was fortunate enough to be one of the people invited to attend 140 BPM, an exhibition celebrating grime music and culture through fine art.  The exhibition was organised and created by 19-year-old Sophia Tassew, an art director at FCB Inferno.

I was lucky enough to meet Sophia last year, when we were contributors to Live Mag UK, and I could see the sparks of brilliance in her then. It’s no wonder that she became the youngest art director for FCB Inferno and then went on to put on an exhibition after she received acclaim for her artwork – she’s a determined, hard-grafting young woman who goes out and gets things done.

Putting out a message for help on landing an exhibition space, Sophia ended up being sponsored by Converse, who allowed her to hold the exhibition in their London headquarters.  Sophia exhibited some of her artwork alongside Tom Fitch, Raman Aso, Simon Wheatley and Jasmin Sehra, who are all incredibly talented and shone a light on the world of grime in different ways.

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Sophia is going to keep on ascending, with more exhibitions already set to be in the works after the success of 140 BPM.  Only this time, she plans to open her exhibitions to the public, which I know is necessary after an overflowing guest list.

dsc_0775As I traveled to and from 140 BPM, I happened to be reading a book of poetry by 20-year-old Ismael Musoke.  The Lost Essays is a stunning read, with Ismael telling his story of growing up in South London through a collection of poetry.

Each poem is thought-provoking, touching on real life situations and emotions that many of us go through.  I found myself relating to a lot of what he had written, especially as a young black individual who has grown up in South London myself.

I found myself all up in my feelings, as I sat on the Tube reading the pages and taking in what each line had to say. I felt a connection to Poetruth, as my heart was struck by the first stanza: “He sits there in fear, / Constantly doubting himself / Doubting his own intentions / self-doubt is the cousin of fear / And fear is the son of failure.”

My ultimate favourite poem though, was D.R.E.A.M.S, which brought a tear to my eye and took my breath away.  As someone who is striving to reach my dreams, this poem resonated with me more than any other.  “Someone told me black people don’t do poetry / So I picked up that pen and told my story so they know it’s me”, Ismael writes.

I can’t tell you how glad I was when Ismael performed D.R.E.A.M.S at our first poetry event on November 1st.  He brought the poem to life with a captivating, powerful performance that made me fall in love with it all over again.

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Ismael was just one of the eight amazing poets and spoken word artists who performed at our first poetry event, Poetic Insight.  It was an inspiring night bursting with young talent, which made me incredibly proud of my generation, as well as the borough of Croydon.  It also gave me the opportunity to share some of my poetry and speak out on something that is very important to me – showing women in sports the same level of respect as men after the WNBA Finals wasn’t shown again in the UK.

On the night, we heard about relationships, perception, life experiences, grief and real-life events.  Usually personal to her, Josephine honoured us with one of her poems, and 15-year-old Original Shai blew us all away with his dynamic delivery and wonderful way with words.

Every single poet and performer brought something different, which made the night all the more special.  I cannot wait for the regular monthly Poetic Insight events to start in January, when we’ll hear even more from young people speaking their mind through poetry.

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Young people are doing going from strength to strength, and that needs to be acknowledged.  The good needs to be reported to balance out the bad, which will immediately change the perception of young people in society.  For now, remember these names, because you’re going to be hearing a lot more from them.