FUTA Overview

Some Gen Z Suffer Depression Due to Lack of Data to Access Internet - Professor of Guidance and Counselling

A professor of Guidance and counselling at the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Olawumi Ajidahun, has described people born between 1997 and 2012, also known as the Zenith Generation – Gen Z, as the most technologically advanced with high sensitivity that even for some of them lack of adequate data to access the internet could lead to sadness, depression and low self-esteem. She made the assertion at the 3rd Dr Amos Emiloju Arijesuo Memorial Lecture held at the Federal University of Technology Akure, FUTA on January 17, 2024. She said because of the peculiarity of their exposure to technology and their assertiveness and influence of the social media they could be prone to certain challenges that should be delicately tackled by parents and the society at large using various counselling techniques.  

According to Ajidahun, who spoke on the topic, “Emerging Issues and Trends among Nigerian Student’s,”, “Many of them have smart phones and other high technology devices from young age. Their times are split between five different screens: Smartphone, TV, Laptop, Desktop and Tablet. They seem to have attention span problems, because many things are taking their at-tention. Even as students, they prefer slide  whiteboard interactive teaching to the conventional teaching of writing on white board.” Ajidahun pointed out that understanding the peculiarity of Gen Z was critical to devising appropriate counselling techniques for whatever problems they may be faced with.  

She identified some of the problems and challenges to include depression and suicide, sexual Activities and Indecent dressing, excessive makeup, transgender problems, drug and alcohol use, obesity and habit of eating junk foods, academic cheating, peer pressure, youth gangs, and cultism, social media, digital overloading and cyber-crime, poverty, financial problems and dropping out of school, kidnapping, ritual killing and insecurity of lives and properties.

Dwelling on depression, she said it could result from a complex interaction of social psychologi-cal and biological factors. “It occurs as a result of exposure to adverse life events such as  un-employment, bereavement or traumatic events. Depression is different from regular mood change and feelings about everyday life. In everyday life, we have moment when we are too happy about events in our life, but one may not stay in that stuff for long, depression takes longer time for one to overcome. Many students seem to be depressed due to the stress that comes with academia which includes financial worries, pressure to get a good job after school, failed relationships and many more,” she said.

Professor Ajidahun also said that due to their exposure to social media, there is a high probabil-ity that Gen Z members who are not well guided could be involved in activities which can be legal and illegal, on social media.  According to her, ‘Many have exposed their family secrets through what they post on social media. Based on the fact that young people stay too long on their phones, it can lead to digital overloading. Some youth stay on media to observe the activi-ties of others in order to perpetrate evil sometimes; to hack people’s line and to get personal information of others.”

She said spending too much time online and consuming too much information can lead to visual problem, decrease bone density, problem with sleep, dry eye and eye strain. She said many students are glued to their phone at the detriment of their studies; as they prefer to use their phones for other things than to study effectively.

The lecturer advocated that preventive measures should be put in place in order to guide Gen Z away from self-inflicted problems that could destroy their future. She therefore advised that Gen Z should seek sessions with counsellors to discuss issues adversely affecting their wellbeing in any area. “No matter the problem, counsellors are equipped to provide solutions to the psy-chological, emotional, developmental, and spiritual problems of their clients. It is the responsi-bility of counsellors to ensure that guidance services are provided to students in their custody, they should not wait for problems to escalate before providing solution. This can be done through regular write up, posters, seminars awareness programmes, counselling week and many more. Counsellors are important in creating enabling environment for our world. Even the good book confirms it that in the multitude of counsel there is safety,” she advised.

She suggested that depending on the nature of the challenge, Family Counselling, Behavioral Counselling Cognitive Behavioral Counselling, Cognitive Restructuring, and Interpersonal Psy-chotherapy, Problem-Solving Counseling, Systemic Counselling, Reality Counselling and Spiritual Counselling as counseling techniques could be adopted. She however strongly stressed that family support and love would be a critical factor in helping young people to overcome chal-lenges and beat dangerous habits

The Vice Chancellor, Professor Adenike Oladiji, commended the effort of Amos Emiloju Aijesuyo Legacy Foundation (AEALF) for sustaining the annual lecture and legacies of the late astute administrator and counsellor par excellence, Dr Arijesuyo, who until his death in 2021 was the Head of the Guidance and Counselling Unit of FUTA. Professor Oladiji who was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic , Professor Taiwo Amos said the topic selected for the lecture best describes what is faced amongst most Nigerian youth. She commended the organizers for a job well done and enjoined young people and counsellors in the University System to explore the rich content of the lecture.

The Registrar, Mr. Charles Adeleye, in a remark, showered encomiums on the late counsellor as the first head guidance and counselling unit of FUTA saying he built the section. “The late Arijesuyo ensured that the unit was in very good standing and delivered quality service to students and all those who needed the services of counsellors in the University. Arijesuyo was a devout Christian and a person of honour who was always available to provide quality counselling to all who came his way. May the Good Lord continue to bless and prosper his legacies, “  

Barrister Biodun Arijesuyo who spoke on behalf of the family described the occasion as a deliberate effort to keep the legacy and good works of their patriarch alive. He said the Foundation will continue to push for a better deal for students and young people especially in the area of easy access to good and timely counselling in the University system. He also appreciated the University for partnering with the family in that regard.

The highlight of the occasion was the presentation of Scholarship awards to students presided over by the chairman of the AEALF, Professor David Olufolaji.