PERILS OF THE INTERNET AMIDST ‘MOMO CHALLENGE’
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.
The author is Teacher III at Pampanga High School