Educating kids about social media starts with us

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to interview Prof Datuk Dr Teo Kok Seong and he spoke about how social media has increased tension among the races in the country.

“Social media has its good points but it also gives a voice to many who can abuse it,” said Teo who is a principal research fellow in UKM’s Institute of Ethnic Studies and Institute of Malay World and Civilisation.

It was a timely reminder about what we post or say online as it can always come back to bite you and others.

This is also true about rumours circulating about the Covid-19 pandemic, or the standard operating procedures and whether the Covid-19 vaccine is a means to “track our footsteps” or “control us”.

As I was discussing Teo’s comments with a good friend, we realised how there is not much education for children on how to approach and interact on social media.

“We need to teach them how to behave, how to communicate or post things,” said Rizal S.

“They must know the consequences of their action and how to fact check and not accept everything at face value.”

Coincidentally, this week, we received an email from Malaysia Information Literacy Education which has created a game about the different forms of disinformation and how they spread (see below).

Those who spout “hate speeches” are mostly those who know they can hide behind the anonymity online gives them and would not dare to say the same things face to face.

And if one account gets suspended or banned, they can just register a new one and the vicious circle continues.

Social media also tends to reward the loudest and craziest voices (think former US President Donald Trump).

I guess it is up to us parents to set an example for our children.

Anyway, today is the 340th day since the start of the original MCO and this is the 36th weekly edition of ‘The MCO Diaries’.

MORE GOOD NEWS THAN BAD

Malaysia recorded ‘only’ 19,505 new cases this past seven days which some sceptics claimed was because there was less testing during the Chinese New Year holidays.

The accumulative numbers are the lowest seven-day figures tallied by this website since Jan 9-15 when we had 19,958 cases.

From Jan 2-8, there were only 16,030 new infections.

Nonetheless, a total of 277,811 cases mean Malaysia is ranked 45th in the world for the most number of Covid-19 cases.

The good news is that 34,197 patients recovered from the coronavirus in the past week. That includes six of the top seven recoveries on a single day.

The highest recovery on one day was on Tuesday (5,718), followed by Wednesday (5,709), Thursday (5,320), yesterday (4,889) and Valentine’s Day (4,525). On Monday there were 4,521 recoveries, putting it in seventh place, just behind Jan 31 (4,522).

There were also 90 deaths this past week, after two weeks of three-digit fatalities.

The sad news is that we surpassed 1,000 deaths on Wednesday. The total now stands at 1,043.

This means from Jan 4 (501 deaths) until yesterday, we have had 542 fatalities, including a record-high 25 on Thursday.

Worldwide, there are close to 111 million cases with 2.45 million deaths.

CHOICES I MAKE

Malaysia Information Literacy Education (MILE) has created a fun, simple browser game – Choices I Make – on the different forms of disinformation and how they spread.

The role-playing game allows Malaysians to play the game from the perspectives of the victims and creator of “fake news”.

It comes in four languages – Bahasa Melayu, English, Tamil and Chinese.

“Malaysia still has ways to go to tackling the issue of disinformation, and instilling critical thinking and information literacy skills to adequately analyse, evaluate, and process the flood of online content we receive,” said MILE co-founder Darshini Kandasamy.

“This situation is exacerbated with all the news, rumours and propaganda coming out amid the pandemic. We often make split-second decisions on whether to believe and share a piece of information.

“We may have the best of intentions but tend to share information without even knowing if it’s true in the first place, and without fully understanding the ramifications of doing so.”

The other MILE co-founders are media consultant, Kuek Ser Kuang Keng and data consultant, Hazwany Jamaluddin.

Funded by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) and illustrated by Studio Behind 90, Choices I Make is a choose-your-own-adventure game that allows players to take on the personalities of three very different Malaysians – a retired satay seller, a college student and an online game creator.

STILL CONFUSING

This is another one I got via WhatsApp.

GONG XI, GONG XI

If you have no plans tonight, check out the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry’s virtual Chinese New Year celebration tonight at 9pm.

The ‘celebration’ will be on RTM1 as well as the ministry’s Facebook page.

PANCAKE TUESDAY

Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday or Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) are one and the same. It falls on the eve of Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of Lent. During Lent, which lasts for 46 days, Catholics and most Christians observe some form of fasting and penitence.

As such, the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday is seen as the final day to ‘pig out’ (in the old days there were no fridges so it made sense to use up all the meat, eggs, butter, et cetera before the start of Lent).

Side note, Shrove Tuesday is also the culmination of Shrovetide (Tuesday and the two days preceding it when it was customary to attend confession before Lent).

Anyway, that is the long-winded way of introducing the recipe of the week which is by Nigella Lawson.

HOW CATS FEEL ABOUT WORK FROM HOME

Received this via WhatsApp. So true.

THE GREAT COMPROMISE

It has been a while since we had a John Prine song. So here is the great man himself with another classic.