Ethiopian, Dagmawi Wube, reflects on the need to support the online generation through training.
Facebook has no user manual! Well, some might ask if ‘Facebook’ can be categorized into a technology type. Others might think that Facebook has a help menu which the user can refer to. Practically speaking, we can all be honest enough that we do not naturally refer to the user manual when we want to register and use Facebook. Think of this same case in an African context where almost no one cares for a user manual. Shouldn’t we, then, prepare a training event to provide the missing user manual for the highly technology savvy generation? For me, it is a must so that we spare the generation from what has been thought to be an advantage, but is really a failing. In this article I will try to show briefly both my experience of giving technology-related training and the challenge for its urgent need everywhere.
The first time I saw the need for technology-related training was in one national meeting which the Great Commission Ministry of Ethiopia (originally Campus Crusade) called a few years ago. In that meeting, they tried to show where the generation is heading in terms of the use of technology and technology related Media. I was shocked watching a 14 years old girl, fervently speaking in the first video documentary about how proudly addicted she was to using Facebook from first thing each morning to plan for the rest of her day. Why was I shocked hearing that? Because that was the time I was convinced that every Christian has to start his/her day by using the Bible to reflect on the day ahead. In my struggle to keep this practice alive I was not even an aware of this teenager. Well, the documentary video exposed that day that even if what the teenagers say about their attachment to the technologies is good in the beginning, the results of it were devastating. So how can I remain silent?
What I had to do for that was plan to prepare and give a training for teenagers from the Evangelical churches in Ethiopia. Hence, my first training became “Christian Youngsters and the Proper Use of Technology.” When I give this training, my assumption is that almost all teenagers might act as if they know much better than me. However, I could practically see how lacking they were. So, I had to continue preparing and giving a training called “The Children of Light and their Acceptable Uses of Social Media.” These two training courses became very popular. I was invited to 11 different churches of different denominations to give one or other of these courses. I remember how determined the four of the churches were to invite me to give this same training in their main worship services thinking that it would be useful to inform parents who might only be available on Sundays. It has been common to receive a secret phone calls or messenger chat invitations from many of the youngsters. Some of them who have been bold enough to meet in person have told of the need practical support.
We have a call to redeem the next generation by preparing the missing user-manual for the technologies that our sons and daughters are addicted to for a good or bad.
Dagmawi Wube has been working with SIM Ethiopia for almost seven years. He is working with the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church (EKHC) Head Office’s Discipleship Dept. Dagmawi travels extensively to give training. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org