This last year has been challenging for most of us, it taught us importance of mental and physical health along with beauty of small things that we used to take for granted. May that be meeting a friend over a cup of tea or going to classroom, where all we did, was exist with each other in a physical space. One of the things that this pandemic made us think about, was being open and vocal about our thoughts and feelings.
Image 1This made us think, what will be the best topic to discuss among ourselves? As we all are online during pandemic, one idea that surfaced was how social media is playing role in our lives. How it is being used against our mental well being, this led to all of us watching a documentary film “Social dilemma”. Thus, theme of this times Be frank came into existence “Be Frank Be open”. To be frank and be open about issue of social media being used against us, may that be our personal data being collected and sold to advertising houses and companies or the manipulation involved in tricking us into using the application more. We wanted to make VSM students aware of these facts and ask their opinion about the same, and what can be the better way to spread awareness than through the mode of cinema.
Hence this time we thought of asking students to watch a movie or a documentary prior to start of Be frank session. For this purpose, short film “Devi” and a documentary “Social dilemma” were decided. The topic like influence of social media on our day today life and highly under-discussed topic in our society like rape and physical abuse were decided to be discussed on the Be frank platform. We conducted this session 27th December to 14th February across all branches.
Image 2Based on documentary “Social dilemma” we discussed about use of social media and our mental health. Our students suggested solution like using digital health option available in all of our smart phones. This option enables the user to keep track and maintain use of the device and social media throughout the day. This shows the involvement and awareness of our students.
Second topic was based on short film titled “Devi”, after showing trailer of this movie to all the students. We received plethora of opinions from all, some of which were, “how in our country, where more than 80% of population pray to Goddess and still the way women are treated is below human integrity”, “It is important to not only teach gender equality but to practice the same”.
When asked, what can be done to improvise this situation, suggestions poured in from our students. Some of them were, how we should train our kids and women in our household in self-defence, how it is important to fast-track judiciary system when it comes to cases of mental and physical abuse so that victim does not have to suffer more than what they already have. One suggestion from our student that every one of us can implement after reading this report is, not criminalizing the victim.
Nikita Chitre from Team Be Frank says “This Be Frank indeed seemed like an open stage, and I felt we could be frank and be open when it comes to tabooed topics like rape to topic that is most ignored like use of social media, its functioning and its effect on our mental health.”
So, at the end, let us all Be Frank and Be Open to each other’s thought processes and learn from the same.