New Media and the Changing Youth Culture in Africa

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The African culture is a beautiful one that dwells on behavioural patterns to structure the ways of life of the people.

From Nigeria to South Africa to Morroco, there exist different cultures, beliefs, values, and ethics that have over time been passed down from generation to generation.

However, most of the African culture is fast eroding in recent times because the youths who should bear the touch of strengthening the culture have been indifferent towards it.
Many factors have been identified to be responsible for this trend and one of them is the ” New Media”.

What then is New Media and what impact has it had on the culture of African youths?
New Media are means of mass communication using digital technologies such as the internet. They are forms of media that rely on computers and the Internet for the redistribution of information.

The new media involves social media like Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Instagram, My space, etc where users use the internet to build social networks and share interests and activities.

New media play an important role in building relationships and socialization due to its computerized nature which induces change and reactions from end users.

The advent of these platforms has brought about a level of awareness that has drawn youths on the continent closer to happenings and events around them due to their fast and easier ways of accessing and disseminating information.

However, this has come with a price for Africa and its youths in particular.

The evolution of new media has brought about a new wave of behavioural, cultural, and attitudinal change, especially among the youths who form the highest concentration of social media users.

With the new media, morals, values, and cultural ethics are being thrown to the wind so much that acts that were hitherto referred to as forbidden or unaccepted have now become the norm among the youths.

For instance, nudity which was regarded with value and reserved for private in the African culture is now the new normal for most youths to flaunt on social media without any iota of guilt for such.

Every culture has a dual tendency. They are a tendency toward stability and a tendency toward change.

The new media has brought a tendency towards change in many aspects of the life of African youths as it has over time become a big part of many young people’s social and creative lives.

In most African countries, many young people now have access to social media platforms which have often exposed the majority to actions that have changed their beliefs against their culture.

As such, while social media gives room for the youths to advance their drive to compete favourably with their counterparts around the world, it has also prevented them from following their local customs.

Unlike before, disrespect for constituted authorities and irresponsible acts are now the order of the day among youths on social media.

Also, since there’s no absolute regulation of the new media, youths are now exposed to all forms of vices and corrupt activities through the social media platforms eroding values like discipline, chastity, the dignity of labour, sincerity, and communalism that depicts the African society.

It is now very easy to see young females dress so sensationally by leaving bare the most sensitive parts of their bodies while the male folks adorn all sorts of feminine wears and flaunt them boldly due to influences from what they view and read online.

Taking another dimension, festivals and cultural celebrations are part of the culture of Africans. Different countries on the continent have an array of beautiful and rich activities to celebrate their cultural heritage which involves both young and old.

However, the question to ask now is how many young people get interested in such cultural festivals anymore? They would rather engage in watching movies or other streaming events through the new media.

Through these acts, African festivals, languages, and modes of dressing are fading out and being replaced with new modern styles.

While the new media has been tagged to be a good development as it enhances growth and development in every facet of life, it has however done more harm than good in the area of promoting the African culture among youths on the continent.

Though Change is the only constant in life, it should however not be mistaken that the new media is bad in its entirety, rather it is the pattern and mode of usage that matters.

Just like there are disadvantages of social media, there are also advantages that the youths have actively deployed for growth on the continent.

African youths are courageous and creative people and it is believed that they can still make use of social media effectively to better promote the African culture if they put their minds to achieving it. On the other hand, for this to come to reality, the family, the school, and religious and social groups must rise to bring about solutions to check the challenges of media excesses.

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