There are lots of ways that young people can keep in touch with DMSF and every week we host a number of online support sessions for our young people; this includes a live group chat, life skills storytelling and training with the team.

Articulating thought; showing empathy; being more socially conscious, building confidence; conflict resolution and expanding world views, are just some of the positives behind engaging in, and learning to be a great debater.

Every Monday at 2pm we host a live chat, ‘DMSF Debates’ via Zoom, encouraging our young people to get together and engage in a lively discussion on a specific topic.

The chat is entirely confidential and it’s also a safe space for our young people to raise and discuss any issues or concerns they might be facing, or to simply flex their listening skills to help others.

Debating can help a person develop essential critical thinking skills and it’s also our hope that we’re helping our young people become curious about new ideas while also retaining a level of scepticism and building a healthy attitude to questioning.

A session typically involves up to six of our young people, a member of the DMSF team who leads the discussion, and DMSF co-Founder and CEO, Diane.

The discussion starts with a presentation of views on a specific topic; groups are formed representing both sides of an argument, and then each group is encouraged to make a case and explore and defend their argument.

Recent ‘DMSF Debates’ topics have included:

  • Should violent video games be banned?
  • Should detention be banned, is there a better way?
  • Do you think it’s important for young people to have a job after school?

Our young people consistently demonstrate maturity and insight during the discussions and a sample of comments is provided below:

 

 

FOR (banning) 

AGAINST (banning)
VIDEO GAMES

Negative influence on actions/ life decisions

 

Desensitisation

 

Young people can be easily influenced, and they may think this an acceptable way to tackle problems

 

A person should be able to differentiate between what’s right and what’s wrong

 

What’s next, if we ban video games, do we then ban music

 

Parental control is key

 

 

 

Conclusion: Banning is an extreme reaction which, in itself, can create a negative response. A possible solution is to consider better use of controls/restrictions

 

DENTENTION

 

It’s often after school which can create safety issues for children walking home

 

It’s often unstructured so doesn’t address the problem

 

It’s a deterrent (for some) and you should learn that actions have consequences

 

Having a safe place/people where children and young people can go and talk about issues is key

 

Conclusion: Intervention is more effective, for example, a warning system. This encourages/promotes more of a student voice and shares responsibility [between the student and school]. Young people need guidance as this teaches them about value and respect

 

EMPLOYMENT

 

Satisfaction, reward, social interaction, experiences, responsibility, stress relief, mental health

 

Doesn’t have to be a job, but you should have something outside school that teaches you responsibility, commitment, team working etc.

 

 

Stress relief: “I don’t ever want to walk into an exam and think about things other than the exam”

 

 

Live chat is fast becoming a “must have” engagement tool for DMSF. It allows us to take the pulse of what young people are thinking about right now and tackle these topics with other approaches if need be.

We are also exploring how to develop this further so that our young people are able to provide a critical voice to support as well as scrutinise the work of our partners, such as the Mayor or Greater Manchester’s Youth Strategy, and help us determine what DMSF might look like in the future.

If you have a topic that you would like to see discussed as part of the ‘DMSF Debates’ programme, please contact johanna@dmsf.co.uk.