Home > General, Personal > Mxit: Good, bad or something else?

Mxit: Good, bad or something else?


Mxit is an instant messaging service that was designed here in South Africa. By stroke of genius, it was designed to run on any number of cellular phones instead of the PC. Due to its wide range of phones supported, it quickly grew to be the platform of choice amongst the youth of this country to communicate. Since it’s cheaper to chat than to send tons of SMS’s or to voice call, Mxit has become ingrained in the culture of the youth today.

I myself use the program almost every day to chat with my friends. I’ve been using it since 2006, when it was still in it’s infancy. I’ve seen it grow, have teething troubles, and then grow some more. I’ve cursed it when it’s been slow, loved it when it was fast. Social events are planned on Mxit without blinking an eye. It’s really become second nature to almost everyone who uses it.

However, I’ve also noticed the downsides to its addicting nature. Children walk in shopping malls eyes glued to their phones, without seeming to know where they are. I have friends who would chat non stop when visiting me, which was incredibly rude as they spent more time chatting online than actually talking to me. I myself have stayed up late into the night chatting sometimes, and while I can handle that, many school children can’t. When they only get 3 or 4 hours sleep, they become tired and irritable at school and struggle to learn anything.

Mxit has also taken a lot of flack in the media because it has been linked (sometimes falsely) to kidnappings, spreading pornography, school “slut lists” and more. In most cases, it is the users that give it a bad name, as they are simply taking a platform and using it to their own ends.

One thing that saddens me though is how Mxit is used by some of its users to blatantly sexually lure people. I used to chat in a special chat room called the Dating Game, where the aim is to chat with people, flirt a little and perhaps develop a friendship. However, I long since stopped using the service because it has become polluted with girls/ladies/somebody offering naked pictures/videos of themselves for airtime. I have no idea if they really do send back in return for the airtime, as I haven’t and won’t be testing that out. For all I know, it could also easily be a scam to get airtime.

It is situations like that however that give Mxit a bad name and reputation. They do try their best to filter such content and moderate chat rooms, but the sheer amount of messages flowing through the system makes it near on impossible.

In the end, it’s not really Mxit at fault I guess. They simply provided a platform and service, and has been tarnished by a number of users actions. In many cases, the exact same things can happen on Windows Live Messenger and other chat networks, but since Mxit is so easily accessed by the youth compared to computer access, the bad vibes will probably follow Mxit around for some time to come.

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Categories: General, Personal Tags:
  1. September 15, 2009 at 15:51

    Nice post and since you have been using Mxit for a long time, you really do understand the best uses.

    I hope to see it being used for educational purposes more often.

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