The Internet is a public and open community space, accessible by all. Technological advancements have made the Internet a wonderful tool and platform for people to communicate, work and play. The open and collaborative nature of the Internet has also given us much freedom to express our views and creativity anytime and anyhow we want. However, it is also unavoidable that the very freedom brought to us by the Internet also gives rise to real life problems and concerns.
In the new digital and social media landscape, the Council seeks to address the following key areas:
(a) Risky Behaviours Online
This pertains to digital safety, security and privacy issues as the online world becomes a new hunting ground for people with less than honourable intentions; and where individuals’ privacy may be encroached upon by new technological tools and marketing tactics.
(b) Uncivil Behaviours Online
This refers to behaviours that are anti-social, offensive, irresponsible or simply mean. While such behaviours are not unique to the online environment, people can be a lot more callous when communicating through digital technologies as there are no verbal and visual cues. More worryingly, the impact on victims is magnified because of the speed, permanence and openness of the social media environment.
(c) The impact of the information age
The beauty of the Internet is that it allows people to express themselves, exchange views and collaborate and learn from one another. However, it is also a world where radical and extremist groups can easily spread their ideas, where dubious businesses can pay for good reviews and where groups with an agenda can seek to lobby and influence. It is also a world where media outlets can easily succumb to the pressures of internet speed, online citizen journalism and discourse, at the cost of accuracy and professionalism.
That being said, the Council recognizes that the Internet is all about empowering citizens to become engaged stakeholders who can make informed decisions about the activities that impact their daily lives and the communities they live in.
The Council therefore sees its role as encouraging and promoting critical abilities and an understanding of the digital world so as to enable Singaporeans to be astute and responsible digital citizens. Such skills will also be important in helping users manage and mitigate the risks associated with advances in technology.
It is with this intent that the Council has developed a set of “Media Literacy Core Values” which encompasses a set of values and skills that we feel are indispensable to conducive and positive living especially in the digital age. The Media Literacy Core Values will underpin the Council’s public education and outreach programmes.
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The Internet and social media is not a stand-alone space. It is a community inhabited and shaped by us, Internet users. It is an extension of our society and our lifestyles. How the Internet environment will evolve and take shape will depend on how we want it to be.
The Media Literacy Council believes that all of us can play a role to not only create a safe, conducive and fun online environment for work and play, but also to protect the freedom and empowerment that the Internet has given us.
Here’s how we can all attempt to create a better Internet together – by exercising Core Values and Skills.
“Don’t do to others what you don’t want done to yourself”
Whether offline or online, nobody wants to be on the receiving end of nasty comments or hurtful behavior.
“With great power, comes great responsibility” – Spiderman
Through the Internet and social media, we have the power to communicate and make ourselves heard. But it also means we have the responsibility to make sure that what we say don’t end up harming others or society. Offline and especially online (because our words travel far and wide), we’ve got to be accountable for our words and actions.
“Respect yourself and others will respect you” – Confucius
What we say speaks a great deal about who we are as a person. Respect and tolerance for differences (whether it is gender, religion, race or socio-political views) will go a long way in making online interactions more constructive and meaningful. There is no need to make personal attacks just because we disagree.
“If it is not right, do not do it; if it is not true, do not say it” – Marcus Aurelius
Offline, most people are respectful, polite and courteous. Online, why do people turn into trolls and bullies? A person with integrity will do the right thing even if others are doing something different. Stand up and do for what is right! Ignoring wrong-doing, online or offline, will only let the bad guys set the norm.
Inspiring Others Positively
Encourage. Appreciate. Comfort. Spread Joy. Lend a Hand. Do Good.
The power and choice to do great things online is in our hands. Why spread rumours when we can talk about good things? Why criticize when we can encourage? Why not stand up against a cyber bully? Let’s look out for one another and make the Internet a better place.
Astuteness and Discernment
Knowing right from wrong. Recognizing fact from fiction.
A smart digital citizen exercises critical thinking and good judgement. In doing so, we make informed choices and actions, and protect ourselves from risks. Whether offline or online, these are hallmarks of an effective person.
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