P-ROCKer Jack: Real Talk

Posted on April 12, 2017

Hey, I’m Jack, a teenage blogger and journalist from Regional Victoria. PROJECT ROCKIT have set me the task to answer some great questions about my opinion on youth issues and of course my blog (jacktward.com). Have a read of my answers and think about yours as well, because we all deserve an opinion!

What made you want to start a blog?
I started my blog with the intention of sharing my ideas and opinions with the world and because I really like writing. Before I started my blog I was writing with a non – profit organisation based in the US called Youth Journalism International. This organisation is such a great one for young people because it allows us to write news stories, opinions and so many other types of writing. The thing is, I didn’t want to be sending articles in every week as the editors would have got sick of me! So, whilst I still write for them I also started my own blog so I could have a bigger voice and help others with all sorts of things. My posts vary from week to week with some being about cooking, travel and lifestyle. Looking into the future I really want to write about some topics affecting youth, because we are just as important as the adults!

What is the greatest thing about living in regional Victoria?
Regional Victoria is an awesome place to live. There are so many things everywhere from eating local produce to climbing the Pinnacle in the Grampians! I think what makes me love this area so much is the ability to get away from everything happening around me, just relaxing with birds above is brilliant. Looking into the future I don’t think I will stay in regional Victoria due to the fact that cities are quite a distance away, which I think is the only downside.

Name three of your passions.
Well this is a difficult question for me as I have lots of passions but I have narrowed it down, I think…

My first two are equal as I enjoy and love both of them. These two passions are writing/journalism and Musical Theatre. I hope one day soon I realise which I like more so subject selection can be a bit easier, but at the moment I am happy to have both.

My third passion is not just about me, but everyone. I hope that one-day people aren’t judged about their differences and society realises that there is no ‘normal’ person. It makes me furious when someone judges another person because they’re not the stereotype. We all judge each other in our minds and that’s ok, but when someone says it to the persons face, it’s like punching them in the heart. Some people don’t realise this until it happens to them, but personally I have experienced it and I think you get used to it which shouldn’t be the case. People think it’s weird that I sing and dance as that’s not what a “13-year-old boy does” and it actually really hurts when someone comes up to you and calls you a stereotype or judges your sexuality or masculinity. Judging someone in that way just isn’t on.

What are two big issues that young people are currently dealing with?
Young people are faced with so much in lots of different ways but I think a key priority is mental health. We need to focus on preventing mental health issues which I believe is achievable. I can see a lot of mental health issues arise in the school environment. The way that some teenagers judge, torment, bully and abuse others is horrifying. From making jokes about people’s weight which might mean the victim stops coming to school or making others think they’re ranked lower than them in terms of popularity. It can be prevented by further spreading the message and teaching the youth respect and kindness.

The second one is the problem of not feeling like you fit in. Everyone is different and in this modern world everyone needs to realise that. Just because someone for instance doesn’t like sport they’re not a weirdo, they just enjoy doing different things which is totally fine!

How can adults better support young people and their social media use?
Adults need to realise that the world changes, just because adults didn’t do something when they were young doesn’t mean it’s the wrong thing to do now. A lot of the time adults stay in their old ways and don’t grow with society. If they start to grow connections with their children and other youth their understanding and bonds will strengthen.

Social media is often thought of in a bad way by a lot of adults but if your child is educated in the right way when it comes to social media they will be ok. Young people need independence, they need to learn by making mistakes and if they are restricted from social media they will fall behind and not learn. Social media is a tool for communication not an enemy. There are dangers of course, but when used in a responsible way it’s an amazing thing.  As long as parents talk to their kids about social media and the risks involved, follow their accounts and keep up to date with what they’re doing on social media, it is a safe tool.

What is one thing that you wish adults could understand about the way you use the internet?
I wish that they would see that social media and the internet is not bad at all when used in a responsible way. Adults have this misconception that it’s all horrible and we shouldn’t be on it, when really it is such a great resource! Adults worry about our safety which is very comforting but I wish they didn’t focus on the negatives so much. I realise the internet can be dangerous with all sorts of people lurking throughout, but I wish they would have a little more faith in us and trust us to make the right decision.

What is your favourite thing about social media?
Social media is an amazing tool as I have said previously. It allows me to communicate not only with my local friends and family but worldwide! My favourite thing about social media would have to be the ability to share my writing with the world and create a friendly community.

Jack had PROJECT ROCKIT at his school in 2016 and during a workshops voiced such incredible opinions on the world we knew he had to write a post for us! Check out more of Jack’s writing at his blog jacktward.com