rebelling against low expectations

Malala Yousafzai, Age 17: Nobel Prize Winner, Doesn’t Use Facebook or Twitter


(BUSINESS INSIDER) — The latest example of 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai being wise beyond her years: She doesn’t use social media or have a cell phone because she’d rather focus on education. And she doesn’t think selfies are the best use of social media either.

In a recent interview with The New York Times, the young Nobel Peace Prize winner explained why she isn’t on Twitter or Facebook (she uses Skype to communicate with friends back home).

“I haven’t gotten on Twitter or Facebook yet because I want to focus on my education,” Yousafzai says. “I also don’t have a cell phone. I’m 17. Because, it’s good to have a source of communication, but I think I should just really focus on my studies and I’ll become busier than I am if I start using social media.”

She also doesn’t agree with the way many people use social media. She previously encouraged teens not to post photos on social media merely to get likes. Instead of taking selfies, Yousafzai believes social media should be used primarily to create awareness for important issues, such as the “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign that spread on Twitter after women in Nigeria were abducted.

She tells NYT:

“I think it’s important that we use social media, but for a good purpose. For instance, it’s good to take a selfie to say hey what’s up and those things, but I think it’s also important that we use it for the good purpose of highlighting the issues that children all over the world are facing. So to highlight the issues that girls are facing in Afghanistan or Pakistan or India, or the situation of girls in Nigeria, more than 200 girls have been abducted. So we can highlight that on social media, and it was highlighted on social media.

“I came to know about Bring Back Our Girls because it was on Twitter, you could see it. I just heard this news from everyone, everyone was talking about it. So I think this is the way we can highlight what’s happening and we can speak for our rights.”

Here’s the clip:

Check out the rest of our coverage of Malala:

Malala Yousafzai, Age 15: Fighting for Education

Malala Yousafzai’s Story: The Day I Was Shot by the Taliban

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Illustration courtesy of The New Republic and video courtesty of The New York Times.

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About the author

Alex and Brett Harris

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.


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  • Good for her.

    I don’t use Facebook or Twitter and I NEVER will. . . 😛

    First Off: I find that people tend to give out too much personal information to the public. The CIA could take personal information from you, or someone else like a stalker.

    Second Off: It’s a waste of time in my opinion and is not productive.

    That’s all…

    • I don’t have Facebook or Twitter either. My mom would like me to be a little bit older before I use it, but she wouldn’t care if I don’t bother at all.

      • Facebook and Twitter are not always a waste of time (see in the article that Malala first saw Bring Back Our Girls on Twitter), but both of them are very easily abused, and unfortunately many people in our society abuse social media today. I use Instagram, and I’ve found that it’s a kool way to keep in touch with old friends. So really, it’s not Facebook and Twitter itself…it’s just how you use them.

  • I use Facebook but I only read it like a newspaper and to contact my friends that live far away I really don’t understand how people can spend so much time on it though I’m bored by it after about five minutes. I also have Instagram but I’m really not caught up in that either I get on look at my home feed then get off. So pretty much all I use social networking sites for is to stay connected

  • I use Facebook, and I love it! I love hearing what all my friends have to say and what’s going on the world. I use it mainly to help get my blog out and and to gab with my friends. Although i Know many people who don’t have one (I used to be one of those people..) I respect that. It’s up to you to decide if you want to use FB or not.

    That;s all I’m going to say on this subject because i don’t want to start a debate…

  • It is very admirable what she is doing. Her willingness to Do Hard Things is breathtaking. I don’t know if any of y’all remember this or not, but a while back, Alex and Brett posted an article titled “Malala Yousafzai: I was shot by the Taliban”. This same girl was shot by a group known as the Taliban because she stood up for equal rights for women, especially in the area of education. Amazingly, she survived and is still spreading equal rights awareness around the world. I remember it so much because the first time I logged onto the Rebelution, it was the newest article.

  • Anything done on an electronic device can be brought back. (Heard of the recent Snapchat hack?) However, I don’t think social media is entirely evil. It’s just very easily used as a *tool* of evil. And really…it all depends on people’s self-control. I found myself spending way too much time on Instagram, so I deleted the app off my phone and now I only look at it on the computer. Whenever I want to post something, I re-download the app. (Which is a pain, but that’s the point!) But FB and T and IG can be easily used for good, too–it’s just that a lot of people choose to ignore social media’s influence.

  • Would it be beneficial if they was a social network built from a Christian perspective by Rebelutionaries?

        • Because…. well.. it would be more convenient then disqus. (Don’t get me wrong, I love disqus, but…. Yeah.) And because it would be a place to get to know all the fellow (Good grief… spelling!) Rebelutionaries, better. (BTW, I loved it when Trent had a prayer request and we all got to pray with him.)

          I had something else i wanted to say but i totally forgot. Oops!

      • I think it would be cool because I don’t think there are any social networking sites like that and It would be cool to have a site like that my brother and I wanted to do something like that a couple of years ago but I don’t know much about that stuff and he’s not particularly motivated to do anything.

        • Really? I didn’t think there were people who wanted to actually make one! Maybe this idea will go somewhere. 🙂

          • The reason Facebook is so popular is because it’s just that–popular. For something to be an alternative people need to use it. I’m not saying I want to destroy Facebook, I just want there to be another option. I’d like to so a social network that somehow promotes good usage standards. I guess it’s all a matter of what people decide to post. There must be something different about this network that makes it more likely to be used for good. I’m not really a social media expert, these are just my ideas.

    • I love this idea! I just signed up, so waiting for the official approval. With some hard work and Christ-like collaboration, I hope this website can become the new Facebook! 🙂

      • Thanks 😀 Would it be okay if I invited some of my Christian friends to the website as well? 🙂

  • I’m sorry, I find it somewhat ironic that this is on a social media page and that this article was sent to my email.
    Anyway, I totally agree that social media can be addictive for all the wrong reasons. However, I think it’s the same principle with money. You can be responsible with it or you can abuse that responsibility. The money itself is not bad, but we need to keep our priorities straight and our minds clean from all the trash on the internet.

  • Yes. I agree totally. The internet and other social media sites should be used, but not abused. So many things have been abused. Facebook and Twitter are good, when you use them responsibly and for the glory of God, but they get abused way to often. Seriously though, how many of your “friends” on Facebook are actually good friends of yours that you hang out with on a daily basis? How many of your “friends” are people who you would never talk to face-to-face? How well do you know the people you “friend” on Facebook? If I may ask, how well is you “friend status” with the people you meet Facebook in real life? These are questions we all need to ask ourselves sometimes.

    I wish I had the courage that Malala has, because she is amazing.

  • Not that I don’t agree with everything I n this article but that, but why is something that didn’t work because it was a bad idea used as an example all k the time?

  • Malala has actually written an autobiography called “I Am Malala” and it gives a very in-depth view of what was going on in Pakistan while she was there (She currently lives in Birmingham, England, according to the book) I would highly recommend it!

rebelling against low expectations

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