Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus yesterday told a gathering of young people that social media should never replace human warmth and interaction.
Addressing a youth forum at the start of the 61st Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions, Hyatt Regency Hotel, Port-of-Spain, Baptiste-Primus said while social media was “here to stay,” it should never eliminate the human touch.
“I am so happy that social media was created while I am alive and sometimes, I ask myself, ‘Whatever did we do before cellphones?’”
Answering her question, the minister said: “We talked to each-other. Before cellphones we talked to each-other.”
Saying she was pleased social media and its impact on youth in the credit union movement formed a part of the deliberations at the two-day conference, Baptiste-Primus told the young people:
“Modern technology is a necessary tool for all of us but remember human warmth and interaction can never be replaced. So, sometimes put the cell phones down and meet and treat with your friends — that human warmth and understanding.”
Earlier, however, Baptiste-Primus acknowledged the importance of technology in a modern society.
“Young co-operators, chase your dream and your future, #education. We have to talk your language for you,” she said, generating chuckles from the gathering.
“Technology has helped form a modern world of close relations. This can, in no short measure, be attributed to the impact which technology has made on our existence — the relationships that are formed between people on the opposite side of the world, within seconds, either through the click of a button or the touch of a screen.”
She said while people should not take for granted the differences and distances that had been established over the centuries, societies were now built on a platform of technology.
“It is on this basis that now, more than ever, youth of the world should have standards and ideals in common.
“It is now, more than ever, that youth should actively seek out common bonds. It is now, more than ever, that young people should co-operate.”
Baptiste-Primus noted, however, that while the world enjoyed its highest level of connectivity in history through technology, it had, what she considered to be, the greatest levels of greed, individualism and cut-throat capitalism ever experienced.
“But the time is now to shape your future.”
She urged the young people to live consciously, grasping every opportunity that surrounded them in the movement to grow and develop.
“In an era where constant change is changing even more constantly, the challenge to you to bring about change is to remain relevant at all times in how you think, in the talent you possess, in the creativity you exude.
“It is this difference, shared with others, that matters. It matters the most as you seek to achieve a distinct marking in a world that asks and demands for diversity.”
Baptiste-Primus told the young people that education, co-operation and ambition were the three pillars of success.