An internal bug promoted problematic content on Facebook
DHAHRAN: Anas Bukhash was on stage at Ithra’s first Sync Summit wearing a traditional light-colored Emirati dishdasha and a big smile. In a sea of suits, he was authentically himself.
A well-known Emirati serial entrepreneur, who speaks seamless Arabic or English, he is a professional interviewer with one of the most beloved voices in the region.
In 2021, he was selected as one of Arab News’ Top MENA-Based Podcasters of 2021 for his show, “ABtalks”, where he conducts weekly one-on-one discussions with local personalities and worlds of sports, pop culture and business. world.
At Sync, he was in conversation with American Gitanjali Rao, 16, who was TIME magazine’s first-ever “Kid of the Year” in 2020 and Isabella Plunkett, a community operations analyst from Ireland.
Their conversation focused on the positive and negative impact of digital technology on young minds. The panel offered some insights into how young people today are affected by being so online – and what can and should be done to prioritize the physical and mental health of this group. demographics in these uncertain times.
It’s an era where everyone with a smart device has access to an abundance of information and connection is often available at our fingertips. Disconnecting becomes a choice.
Bukhash felt right at home – whether he’s talking to two young people or 2,000 adults, he has a knack for extracting the vulnerable and raw sides of those he talks to. It springs from the number of its guests who willingly reveal their deepest and darkest moments. He proudly tells how he made adults cry. But he always makes sure everyone smiles at the end of his speech. He just wants people to listen and be heard.
“Fatherhood made me a bit softer – according to my mum. I was the first born, so I fell into this role of being ‘the good boy’ very quickly. It’s a certain role. To school I wasn’t hated and I wasn’t the most popular, just neutral. I was fine with everyone. I’m just neutral,” he told Arab News.
As the father of two “good boys”, Bukhash has made a name for himself in the industry and beyond, for trying to use personal stories as a way to help make sense of the world in which we live.
“I’m 40, so I’m part of the generation that grew up without the Internet. We grew up without social media,” he said.
But going from someone with an analog life to 862,000 followers on Instagram and many more across different platforms took some work. Balancing both online and offline has been his constant mission.
“I am very disciplined. If you see my phones, I won’t put them face up. I have no notification about them. I love social networks, it’s my business. This is how I take my content and share it with people. This is how I connect with you,” he said.
“I think we’re all hung up on our phones. Because there’s so much in there – your passport copies, your family groups, and your emails. You can kind of do your work, at least 40% of it, on your phone today,” he said.
But life is more than work. He started learning more about digital wellbeing after being invited to speak at Sync, and credits the top with helping him solidify his plan to get a healthier version of himself.
“Honestly, this is the first time I’ve been introduced to these terminologies by this event (Sync Summit) – I’ve never put them together. You know ‘wellness’ and you know ‘digital’, but “digital wellbeing” was such an interesting combination to think about. What exactly does that mean? I think it’s your wellbeing and how that’s regulated or supported in the digital world,” he said.
For him, the “digital world” is not a living creature with emotions, but a “magnificent tool” that can either uplift or destroy. He compares social media to a hammer. With it, you could either build a table or break your furniture.
He also practices what he preaches.
“Recently I read an article about how children would mimic behavior much more than advice. I like to be present and watch someone – watch their face, watch their eyes. Listen to them. I really believe that you’re a role model in your actions. And then we can always come back to the phone. It’s not going anywhere,” he said.