Saturday 3 December 2016

School's out, students Snapchat with the stars at Zeminar

Published 12/10/2016 | 02:30

Gemma Fitzpatrick from The Beauty Boudoir. Pic: Justin Farrelly.
Gemma Fitzpatrick from The Beauty Boudoir. Pic: Justin Farrelly.

It was smartphones at the ready for the opening day of the inaugural Zeminar event as nearly 4,000 young people flooded through the doors of the RDS for a conference aimed at Generation Z.

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The forum, which focuses on the well-being of 15- to 20-year-olds, is the brainchild of former Web Summit worker Damien Clarke.

Broadcaster Anna Geary with Lee Keane, Aaron Gleeson and David Guiry from Comeragh College, Carrick-on-Suir, at Zeminar 2016 at the RDS. Pic: Justin Farrelly.
Broadcaster Anna Geary with Lee Keane, Aaron Gleeson and David Guiry from Comeragh College, Carrick-on-Suir, at Zeminar 2016 at the RDS. Pic: Justin Farrelly.

Damien has been working on the idea for the past 18 months, having crowd-sourced the initial €10,000 funding for the three-day event.

"I had a little stint at the Web Summit and I got some inspiration out of that and got the idea of having an altruistic event of a similar scale but for young people," he said.

"It connects young people to all the resources that are available to them, from mental health resources to well-being, sports, hobbies and outreach programmes."

Incorporating a series of talks from role models like Niall Breslin and Jamie Heaslip, there are also over 100 stalls featuring youth-related activities.

Sports broadcaster and Cork's former All Ireland-winning camogie captain Anna Geary was among the key-note speakers at the event.

She revealed how she was glad she wasn't part of the Snapchat Generation as there's so much social media pressure on young people these days.

"There is so much emphasis being placed on physical appearance. I think the pressure is so fierce now that girls are nearly afraid to step back from that," she said.

"There's this whole idea of FOMO (fear of missing out.) They're wrapped up in this little bubble and I'm really glad I didn't grow up in a world of Snapchat.

"I'm glad when I was in college, Bebo was just starting. We're losing that interaction, the connection we have with friends and people because we're on our phones all the time."

Other attendees at the first day included Fr Peter McVerry, who spoke about the homelessness crisis and Dublin GAA star Jonny Cooper.

Irish Independent

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