Accepting a New Reality: A Youth Perspective

The Assembly of Catholic Professionals welcomed the Public Speaking Champions of St Mary’s High School, Gateshead, St Clare’s High School,  Taree and St Pius X High School, Adamstown to share their views on ‘Accepting a New Reality: The Youth Perspective’ at the final luncheon for 2016.

Each student spoke brilliantly about the impact of technology on change and what it means to them to accept new realities.

Abbey Bourne, the youngest speaker, from Year 8 at St Mary’s Gateshead, spoke about changes in technology. She shared how mobile phones are used for supervision by parents, so the freedom of spending hours away with no contact, as older generations experienced, is a distant memory now.

Summer Harrison from Year 9 at St Pius X spoke of the pros and cons of the new reality. Teachers can contact students via email, we can scan our own groceries and communication across the world can happen in the blink of an eye.

The internet is used to locate comprehensive information and this is far easier than the effort of going to a library and finding a book.

With children spending up to 30 hours a week in front of a screen, and that resulting in a rise of kids needing glasses, it is up to the parents to limit screen time.

Luke Strong of Year 10 at St Clare’s spoke of new realities in income equality, the rise of democracy and climate change. He said that the Catholic Church is the biggest provider of charitable services outside the government and young people need the example of the Church’s outreach in the community, such as CatholicCare’s Taree Community Kitchen, to demonstrate faith in action.

Sarah Ward of Year 11 at St Clare’s spoke of the privilege of ageing, and quoted George Orwell who said, “Happiness can exist only in acceptance”. What acceptance means in each age group differs. Each stage in life is a journey of acceptance and of course there will always be change.

The students then answered questions about reconnecting with young people in the church and about the impact of technology.

One concern was the lack of social interaction that is a by-product of technology. Another was the dependence of younger people on technology, with our oldest speaker at 17 sharing that she preferred pen, paper and text books.  

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Brooke Robinson Image
Brooke Robinson

Brooke is Content Officer for the Communications Team in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle