Stop Kony 2012

Source: economicstudents.com

Source: economicstudents.com

In the Invisible Children Documentary by videographer Jason, the horrific issue of child slavery in Uganda is shed with light as this man and his team uncover the harsh realities that these African families have been forced to deal with for years. At the beginning of the documentary, Jason spends a short amount of time introducing himself and his son, Gavin. Jason shows home videos of his wife in labor and his baby boy arriving in the world. These images give a more personal feel to the documentary and allow the viewer to relate themselves to the film on a more personal and endearing level. Although the overview of Jason’s family evokes your feelings of empathy and love, you are not yet aware of what the documentary will actually be about. The relevance of his family life is not associated with the topic of the film until we are introduced to Jacob, Jason’s friend from Uganda. Jacob grew up in Africa and suffered a tragic childhood as he was taken from his family and village at such a young age; it wasn’t until 2011 when he first met Jason and shared with him his life story.

Joseph Kony, the leader of the LRA Rebel Group, is not introduced until almost 9 minutes into the 30-minute film. Kony is portrayed as an evil and violent dictator who has formed an army of child slaves turned rebels. We are told of the heinous acts which Kony and his goons have committed including kidnapping children from their families, forcing girls into sex slavery, and turning the boys into child soldiers as he trains them to shoot, kill, and kidnap others. For 26 years, Kony has been evading the authorities and claiming more and more lives- approximately 30,000 children in total have been abducted by the LRA Rebels. Children are shown with mutilated faces, being snatched from their beds in the dead of the night by rebels, carrying machine guns, as dead bodies are shown piled up on the floor. These visuals evoke certain emotions that motivate individuals to turn their awareness into action and stop the LRA Rebel Group. Uganda is portrayed as a dangerous and lawless land where children are not safe sleeping inside their own homes, let alone strolling the streets by themselves, a luxury we have in America.

The United States Government is hesitant to involve themselves in the matter as our personal financial security and financial interests are not directly at risk. Jason created this documentary with a very strong emotional appeal in order to captivate the viewers and give them a sense of responsibility. In other words, Jason wanted to communicate the urgency of the matter by depicting the topic in such a visual and emotional manner making it too hard for us to ignore. After sharing the video through the use of “small world” social media such as Twitter and Facebook, Jason created a following of over 700,000 people on his weblog, Invisible Children. The immense following was generated through the concept of word of mouth marketing, in which individuals spread information through discussions with one another. After enough people had backed his project, Jason and his team took the offices of congress to advocate for the Invisible Children and, ultimately, to stop Joseph Kony.

The Digital Now, Not The Here And Now

Source: nextech.com

Source: nextech.com

The Ted Talks “Your Brain on Video Games” with Daphne Bavelier and “Life in the ‘Digital Now’” with Abha Dawesar explore various controversial topics regarding today’s society in relation to the overwhelming presence of interactive media. From social media, to video games, and other virtual platforms, digital interactivity has increased exponentially as a result of advances in technology. Humans are more connected than ever before- and it is not necessarily a good thing. Multitasking through every tweet, share, like, and online interaction, one must forgo the experience of a moment missed in reality. The opportunity cost of living in the “Digital Now” is suffering from the time-warp which essentially blurs all sense of past, present, and future, as Abha Dawesar passionately explains. Although consuming one’s attention with a digital screen can negatively impact some aspects of life, it can greatly improve many others. As Daphne Bavelier reveals, high-action video gamers in fact held an advantage over non-gamers in a number of categories. For instance, the myth that “extended screen staring” impairs eyesight was debunked as gamers tested higher in sight than non-gamers. The span of attention for gamers at 6-7 objects also trumped that of non-gamers at span of only 3-4 objects. Also, the attention centers of the brain including the parietal and frontal lobes as well as the anterior cingulate all tested more efficient in frequent gamers in comparison to non-gamers. Considering both ends of the spectrum, submersing oneself in interactive media can be both beneficial and harmful depending upon the circumstance.

Source: deviantart.com

Source: deviantart.com

Relating this information to personal experience allows for one to truly evaluate their priorities and determine how wisely they are choosing to spend their time. Bavelier stated that from the initial date of release, the video game Call of Duty has been played for the equivalent of 68,000 years. This is an extraordinary investment of time. One must genuinely take into account whether they are living in the moment or wasting away precious time in the present under the false sense of their lifespan having been elongated by our never-ending supply of technology. The digital world has greatly affected the speed of information and facilitated its effortless flow from opposite ends of the world, allowing for “breaking news” airing on a television program in Australia to reach the United States in just a mere matter of seconds.  In this day and age, human-computer interactions have almost become more frequent and meaningful than human to human interactions. With an increasing market of social games promoted in the media, individuals are satisfied by digital interactions with one another through a sense of augmented reality. In order to bring our society back into the present, we must find a balance between the “Digital Now” and the here and now. Rather than scrolling through our social media news feeds, perhaps we could take the time to appreciate our surroundings and have authentic conversations with those in our presence rather than those on our phone screen.

Revolution Of The Role Model

The story of five-year-old Emma Moore and her unique birthday portraits is an inspiring and powerful message to young girls everywhere. Nowadays, most children choose to impersonate their favorite Disney Princess or Marvel Superhero when taking special occasion photographs. Instead of sticking to the status quo, Emma’s mother and photographer, Jaime Moore, came up with the brilliant idea to dress up her daughter as numerous profound and influential women throughout history including Amelia Earhart, Susan B. Anthony, Coco Chanel, Helen Keller, and Jane Goodall. She wanted Emma to take an interest in strong women because of their commendable accomplishments, rather than admiring television characters or Barbie Dolls for their good looks and pretty clothes.

Source: huffingtonpost.com

Source: huffingtonpost.com

Ideas such as this one have the capability to help young women on such a large scale. In today’s society, we have the tendency to assign value to females, especially young girls, based primarily on their physical appearance. As these girls become women and are repeatedly conditioned to believe that their worth is dependent upon their beauty, the instances of negative personal body image, poor self confidence, eating disorders, depression, and so many other consequences are only bound to increase. The pressure to be slim and attractive is only reinforced by popular media figures like the Disney Princesses whom all have perfect bodies, nice hair, beautiful gowns, and one other minor detail in common: they are always being saved by a man!

Source: smosh.com

Source: smosh.com

Jaime Moore realized that these young girls deserve more honorable role models to look up to. So, she used her professional photography skills to spark an interest within her daughter beyond the usual ball gowns and glass slippers, like that of the average first grader. This situation certainly demonstrates the power and importance of photography as a visual medium. A main function of photography is cultural transmission, defined in Converging Media 4th Edition as the idea of “conveying beliefs, values, and practices by what photographs show, how they show it, and the emotions they stir.” Our American culture, which extensively markets and sexualizes the female body through all forms of media, has in fact converged to other areas of the world which have historically been much more conservative. An example of this would be the trend of female sexual objectification in advertisements recently spreading to the Middle East.

Source: onobello.com

Source: onobello.com

The problem with this situation is that instead of focusing on women for their triumphs like the incredible Helen Keller, our society glorifies 80 pound supermodels by plastering them across every magazine cover, half naked, throughout the entire nation. We can change this disheartening standard by publishing more photographs and stories about real people achieving real-life successes. By praising more of the women on news covers for their accomplishments rather than their slender, size two Calvin Klein undies, photographers and industry leaders could have the means to influence an entire generation of women and remind them that they are more than just a body.

Source: dailymail.co.uk

Source: dailymail.co.uk