Your voice: Instagram-inspired insecurity; cross-border learning isn’t easy; and more (short letters)

  • One reader writes about the difficulties of learning remotely because of Hong Kong’s border restrictions with mainland China
  • Other letters discuss pros and cons of social media, solutions to food waste, the power of meditation and Covid-19’s impact on vulnerable children
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Many teens feel that Instagram causes them to feel inadequate. Photo: Shutterstock

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Kathy Wong: Instagram-inspired insecurity

STFA Leung Kau Kui College

I am writing in response to the article “Hong Kong teens say Instagram has a negative impact on their mental health” (Young Post, October 15).

While it does have some upsides, Instagram can promote unhealthy body expectations when all we see are pictures of “perfect” people. For example, many key opinion leaders and influencers post selfies that only show their best selves. This can cause teens to feel insecure about their appearances and damage their mental health.

But with an increase in body positivity posts, teens can also use this platform to feel empowered. Thus, the public should also spread positivity.

Hong Kong teens say Instagram has a negative impact on their mental health

Aurora Zeng Sze-nga: Cross-border learning isn’t easy

Valtorta College

Being a cross-border student is not easy. I haven’t been able to come back to Hong Kong in so long that I’m slowly forgetting my friends’ faces. I am not the only student in this situation. Many of us want to return, but for many reasons, we can’t.

Learning from home is difficult. Not only do we have problems with Wi-fi or background noise, but teachers also sometimes forget about those of us who are learning online. Once, my teacher forgot to send us worksheets, so we were lost while she was explaining the material.

My eyesight has also worsened because I stare at the screen for more than 10 hours almost every day.

I hope that by writing this letter, more people will understand our difficulties, and the border will be able to open soon.

Hong Kong schools set up learning centres for cross-border students

Yannes Ng: Wasted food can feed plants

Tsuen Wan Public Ho Chuen Yiu Memorial College

Food waste machines should be implemented in schools that can afford it. During recess, many students spend time lining up to buy food, which also shortens their break time. So when the bell rings, they often throw their unfinished food into the rubbish bin, producing piles of food waste.

Using a food waste machine will help alleviate this problem. Rather than wasting the food, students can turn their leftovers into fertiliser for plants at the school.

My primary school had this kind of machine, and teachers used it to teach us to be more aware of how our actions affected the environment. It was a great way to promote sustainability, and it is something more schools should have.

If you compost your food, it won’t get sent to the landfill. Photo: Winson Wong

Karl Kung Ka-lok: The power of meditation

Valtorta College

Scientists have confirmed that meditation can relieve stress, but this practice hasn’t caught on in Hong Kong yet.

As a student preparing for my university entrance exams, I feel a lot of pressure. Every day is filled with school work and tutoring. When I feel burnt out, I begin to meditate. No words can describe how much this has helped me. Meditation refreshes me. It helps me focus on the present, forget my regrets and stop worrying about the future.

If we can’t fix our stressful academic environment, I strongly encourage other students to try meditating.

Meditation and mindfulness in a Hong Kong monastery

Calvin Chan: Instagram is not our main problem

STFA Leung Kau Kui College

I am writing in response to the article “Hong Kong teens say Instagram has a negative impact on their mental health” (Young Post, October 15).

As a teen, I understand that glamorous images people share on social media can cause others to feel inadequate. But we can’t blame social media for all our insecurities because we have been comparing ourselves for decades even without the internet.

The crux of this issue is our mindset. We must learn to be confident in our own skin and not rely on others to validate us. By doing so, I think people won’t be as greatly affected by social media’s negative impacts.

Help! My friend is obsessed with Instagram and it’s making us both insecure

Carol Szeto: A safe space for vulnerable kids

Chief executive, Save the Children

The Covid-19 outbreak has disrupted an entire generation’s education. According to our global survey, eight in 10 children felt they were learning little or nothing at all during school closures. These numbers are incredibly alarming. But it’s the children living in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities who are facing the toughest challenges.

“I really miss school,” Shamiso, a 10-year-old girl from Zimbabwe, told us. “It’s bad that we cannot go to school, but we have to stay at home so that we do not get sick.”

For these children, school is a safe space to develop hobbies and interact with friends. Without a basic education, children living in underserved areas will find it more difficult to escape the cycle of poverty.

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