PER­ILS OF THE IN­TER­NET AMIDST ‘MOMO CHAL­LENGE’

Sun.Star Pampanga - - PERSPECTIVE! -

MARLET R. SAN­TOS

The Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion (DepEd) has ex­pessed con­cern over the per­va­sive­ness of so­cial me­dia, and the dan­gers it poses among chil­dren – es­pe­cially now with the so-called “Momo Chal­lenge” en­dan­ger­ing the lives of kids.

There is no avoid­ing so­cial me­dia’s in­flu­ence in all hu­man ac­tiv­i­ties. But par­ents and teach­ers, how­ever wide-rang­ing the in­flu­ence of so­cial me­dia is, should en­force mea­sures.

The DepEd is also look­ing into de­vel­op­ing a so­cial me­dia lit­er­acy pro­gram in schools in its bid to pro­tect chil­dren from the per­ils of the in­ter­net, in­clud­ing fake news and mis­in­for­ma­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to a UNICEF re­port, 1 out of 3 in­ter­net users world­wide are chil­dren, and that not much is done “to pro­tect them from the per­ils of the dig­i­tal world and to in­crease their ac­cess to safe on­line con­tent”.

Just imag­ine the in­flu­ence of the Momo Chal­lenge in telling chil­dren to harm or sac­ri­fice them­selves. This is an alarm­ing sit­u­a­tion, one that must not be taken for granted, what with the Philip­pines rank­ing first in time spent on the in­ter­net, ac­cord­ing to re­ports.

The in­ter­net risks that chil­dren face on­line in­clude cy­ber bul­ly­ing, cy­ber preda­tors, post­ing of pri­vate in­for­ma­tion, among oth­ers.

Ac­cord­ing to the DepEd, so­cial me­dia lit­er­acy is now in­cor­po­rated in one of the tracks of the K-12 cur­ricu­lum. But in a con­sul­ta­tion meet­ing with stake­hold­ers, it was agreed upon that there is a need to de­velop a sep­a­rate track ded­i­cated on this, con­sid­er­ing the mag­ni­tude of so­cial me­dia and the in­ter­net.

A start would be to de­velop the learn­ers’skills of dis­cern­ment, like how to dis­cern facts from fake news, and how to re­act to so­cial me­dia posts.

While so­cial me­dia is a pow­er­ful in­for­ma­tion tool, it can also be used to spread lies and mis­in­for­ma­tion – and to in­flu­ence chil­dren into do­ing harm against oth­ers.

— oOo—

The au­thor is Teacher III at Pam­panga High School

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