by Razween binti Md. Rashidi
Technology is having a rapid growth parallel to the human needs as well as the demand of this modern world. It is becoming one of the tools that almost all Malaysians need as it is making life easier compared to our grandparents’ days where communication and other inventions such as computer, tabs or even mobile phones were hard to be found because of the economical state at that time. Now, everything has changed as it is impossible to meet a person without a mobile phone and the access to the Internet.
Our former Prime Minister, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi once said that Malaysians are still at the third-class mentality with a first-class infrastructure. In relation to this particular topic, Malaysians are given access to the Internet and we can freely browse and post anything that we like in social media such as Facebook, Twitter as well as Instagram. Since we are given such freedom, most of us tend to take all those opportunities for granted. Based on a personal view as a social media user, the writer personally sees that some of us tend to spread and post negative comments towards other people. For example, if a person has posted about his or her achievement, some of Malaysians will comment that the achievement is nothing if the person does not acquire other skills. We tend to look at the negative side of that person than praise that person’s achievement. In fact, we tend to search for something negative that the person has. Malaysian Digest 2014 requoted words by Communications and Multimedia Consumer Forum of Malaysia Chairman, Dr Elistina Abu Bakar said that Malaysians tend to neglect the things that they have to consider when sharing or posting things online. They do not think of the consequences of posting something negative that may offend other parties who have read what they have posted.
In order to have or to produce a first-class mentality, there are a few things that can be done so that social media users especially teenagers in Malaysia will be more aware about the consequences if they do not use the technologies wisely.
The first thing that can be done is by initiating an early education regarding the social media. This is where people who involved in structuring the education system in Malaysia should include an education regarding the usage of social media in moral subject syllabus for instance. They should know when teenagers started to expose or involve themselves in social media such as Facebook, Twitter as well as Instagram. By knowing that, they can plan on what are the things that can be included in the syllabus. We are in a world where almost everything is having rapid changes. Moral class should expose a situation that is more than just by helping a mother to do the house chores at home. Most of the students have started to engage in an “online” world. They often triggered to explore everything by themselves. So, if there are no guidelines, they may be free to explore and express whatever they want.
In addition to that, another aspect that should be touched on in shaping the children’s mentality in using social media is the parents themselves. Parents is often associated with the behaviour of the children. Hence, it is very important for them to get to know the daily activities of their children whether online or offline. There is no such thing as parents should not be busybody. When parents want to know the activities of their children, it is not called busybody as parents are people who should be respected and they have the right to know the activities of their children. It is important for parents to make sure that the children are like their best friends but they can respect and listen to you at the same time. In relation to the topic, what parents can do to make sure that their children are using social media in a right way is by having a regular check on them. Ask them in the most convincing way in order for them to share with us what they have read or posted in social media. If there are something wrong that we want to correct them, do it in the most professional manner so that our action will not trigger the anger inside the children.
Another reason why parent’s role is important in shaping the children to have a first-class mentality in using social media is because a quiet child at home may be the loudest person online. Hence, it is very important to get to know the children inside and out. Sometimes, we can see that everything is fine on the outside but we should not let them keep everything to themselves and choose social media as a medium to express their anger as well as dissatisfaction.
In conclusion, if all Malaysians tend to post negative things online all the time, foreigners will have a bad reputation towards us as we are not aware of what we have posted online. Hence, in order to have a first-class mentality, we should start using the social media wisely and avoid posting something that can lower down our dignity. Think of the consequences and only post or share something that you really understand.
Parents do play an important role in shaping the children’s behaviour online as mentioned above. We better be safe than sorry. Besides that, it is advisable for all users to be extra careful when dealing with online community. This is because we just look at the online personality of a person instead of their real self. Let’s work towards being a social media user with a first-class mentality. Start shaping ourselves to be one and if other users are using it negatively, why don’t we start using the facilities wisely. Let us portray that we Malaysians are on our way to be a nation with a first-class mentality.