Embracing Technology with… Netball!

Recently, I had a great catch up with an old friend, Nav… whom I mainly see from her social media posts, travelling around the world and doing a lot of sporting activities.

I asked her to share an insight into her work… and she kindly offered to write a blog post about embracing technology by playing…. Netball.

As a practitioner in the world of sport for social change, finding creative ways to weave in educational messages through sport is critical to engaging young people.

 

Essentially, I’ve created a programme that encourages young people to embrace technology (particularly, the use of social media) by not using technology…. but sport instead!

 

So, I designed Netball 4 Change, a programme that uses the game of Netball to teach marginalised girls and young women how to stay safe on social media and take control of their social graph.

 

We read about it all the time; the increase in mental health issues particularly depression and anxiety among girls and so much of it linked to body image issues and low self-esteem which is too often connected to what they read/see on social media. I read this article a little while ago in the Guardian that talks about the pressure girls can often feel to keep up with others on social media:

 

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/23/girls-and-social-media-you-are-expected-to-live-up-to-an-impossible-standard

 

Netball 4 Change targets these girls and teaches them simple messages such as, shutting down apps after being online for 3 hours and go have a physical conversation with someone and how the clickbait culture affects our belief system if we only agree with what is sensationalised.

 

Netball 4 Change delivers and teaches techniques to help young women evaluate their social media behaviour through a series of netball drills that help start the conversation. Girls stay active and before they know it, they’ve been away from their phones for two hours and their worlds have not fallen apart! Refreshing right! So they’re talking about their social network but away from it. It’s gets them thinking. So when they return to their tech devices they are more informed, a little refreshed having played sport and generally have a new and positive experience to share…probably online…but still…inspiring others to think about their social graph.

 

In my day community meant my neighbours, the local temple, the local shop, the local youth club or the local park. Today, for young people community is their social network. Whose online? What have they posted? How many likes did I get? My idea of community to them is an after thought. There are benefits in both definitions, so rather than be tempted to say ‘kids these days, always on their phones…’ let’s move past that (aren’t we all), let’s embrace both! Let’s help young people be more aware without focussing on what they shouldn’t do online but what they should do online! Encourage them to be physically active in their community and to share real and positive stories with their community online as well!

 

If you want to know more, get in touch:

 

navjeetsira@thechangefoundation.org.uk

Twitter – @NavSira

 

There you have it folks… I have to admit, it’s very interesting and a great way to engage the younger folk.

I’d like to thank Nav for taking time out and writing the above, and also – I’ve shared her details if you’d like to get in touch directly.