A partnership between the Jack Petchey Foundation, Media Trust and London Live offered young people the chance to discuss the role social media plays in their lives at a debate held at ITV on the 3rd February.
The question to spark the discussion read: 'Does social media give a voice to young people? Or just provoke vanity, violence and vulgarity?'
The event kicked off with an introduction from award winning Twitter-user and Channel 4 News anchor Jon Snow, who told the audience “we are in the golden age of communication.” Jon’s message from cyber space was entirely relevant considering the topic and while he mocked his own age, given that the event was specifically for young people, he did claim to be full of vulgarity and vanity which sent the audience into raptures!
ITV News presenter Charlene White chaired proceedings, ably steering contributions from a panel that included SBTV’s director, Liam Tootill, London Live’s had of digital, Anna Cronin, online sitcom All about the Mckenzies’ writer Samuell Benta and Jack Petchey Achiever’s Network graduate Jesse Lucas.
Famous faces in the audience also gave their views, including Hackney’s BAFTA Rising Star winner and Kidulthood actor, Adam Deacon. The debate was attended by over 70 young people who were all very eager to pose their questions to the panel and share their own view on such a hot topic!
Charlene White said: “Millions of young people are using social media as a way to communicate, be that through using Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, etc, which are all amazing sources of creativity and knowledge. But as with everything social media-related these days, there is always a downside.
“I have been the object of online abuse in the past, but continue to use social media because it's a great resource and I enjoy it, and I won't have that experience ruined by a minority of people. Events like this that bring together media experts, young people and digital entrepreneurs are crucial to give young people the chance to use the enormous potential of social media to their advantage.”
Jack Petchey CBE said: “Social Media puts the power of mass communication directly into the hands of young people. Like all power – it can be used for good or for bad! It is important that young people have the opportunity to discuss how social media can contribute to modern life, shape our society and also how to avoid the pitfalls”.
The debate will air in London360 on Community Channel, the national TV channel run by Media Trust, on Friday 21st February at 9pm. One London360 reporter will also sum up the debate in The Evening Standard this month.
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