In 2002, one of my uncles had saved enough money to buy a Nokia phone for business. I came to know about this business the few months I stayed with him. He’d always warn me about being duped and how to check call balances. As far I as I could remember then, apart from the outdoor lessons he was paid for, the phone call business had put food on his table and paid his rent. Fast forward to my ST 2 in college. When I met Christopher, the guy who left his work in Port Harcourt to join us in class. He was one of the oldest and quite exposed. He introduced me to night browsing. Of course that was after taking permission from my dad. Night browsing was a new world for me. So much information and so little time. I was too busy to ask Chris why he was laughing at his screen. It was an opportunity for me to read more about the Wilbur Wright brothers in the computer. I would later boast in class the next week, showing folks the printed copy of their pictures and the first flight. Science and technology was my world, and introducing me to a vast piece of information on the internet was more like a ‘bookgasm.’
In the weeks that followed, we’d think of nothing but how to be creative. Before my graduation from that school, I had perfected my act in technical drawing, general metal works, fabrication, etc. I kept admiring the opener and pen knife I had carved out of a 3 mm plate and steel respectively. Other few classmates were also interested in gun powder, binocular craftings and gun assembling. I recall the many who were entrepreneurs in their own right. The poor folks among us never saw themselves as ‘poor’ because no one used either a phone, laptop nor had a personal driver. Our creativities were based on engaging with tangibles like what we could touch, repair or study NOT what we wore nor whom we fucked. We talked of the intangibles only mutedly.
On the contrary, just about 13 years after, I was welcomed into what is now known as the digital age. An age where phone call business is either completely dead or thrives not. An age where information and knowledge is no longer difficult to assess. An age where the ‘pangs’ of the ‘Voltairean’ enlightenment stories are again re-read. The age of great trends. But this age has also killed scientific curiosity and creativity in many a Nigerian teen. Somewhere, in the absence of a parent or gaurdian, Priscillia is waiting endlessly for a ‘hi beautiful’ message. Somewhere, in the secret of Jane’s room she is removing her bra, fondling it to ensure the nipples are erect, as she hopes to take a selfie. The new age nassicism. Somewhere, John is getting used to begin a conversation with ‘xup’ instead of ‘good morning.’ Today more than ever, teens and majority of young people are learning, from a neo-default setting in the visual world, how to touch a stranger’s penis or vagina than they would in real life. They are learning how to be parents when all that is necessary was to learn how to be teens.
This creative disease is, but a turbulent wind in the quest for societal development. Our teens are getting sick, creativity is dwindling and unfortunately the hospitals sometimes replace this sickness with another one namely; silence. We might laugh and share this ridiculous pictures and forget the sickness that has remained uncured. I celebrate the few teens who have used their creative prowess to inspire others. For parents and guardians, being online ought to be extended to being present for and with your child. There is a lot he or she could express in social media you might need to pay attention to. You might be able to check your teen’s choice of friends, the kinds of pictures she likes, comments on or posts. You have that obligation to journey with your child. You have that obligation to teach her/him how to be creative using the information available today. Let’s all speak out and bring back sanity!
Photo credit: Internet.