Does Singapore Need Safer Internet Day?

February 10th, 2015   •   no comments   

Safer Internet Day
Do you recognise these hunks and babes? No, I’m not talking about the YouTube stars! (courtesy of BetterInternet.SG)

How would you rate Singapore’s Internet environment? Good? Average? Or downright crap?

As a digital marketer and publicist, I love spending time online. However, it pains me to see so much hatred, bullying and negativity being dished out on social media.

Reading what many are sharing online, you’d imagine that we’re living chaos, strife and unhappiness. While there are definitely rough patches here in Singapore – and I do have my fair share of grouses – tearing down individuals or spewing vitriol on communities isn’t going to help. If anything, doing so would only make you feel more angry, stressed and depressed!

I guess this is why I support Safer Internet Day 2015 and am happy to be identified as an advocate for a more positive Internet experience.

Better Internet SG - Walter Lim
My two cents worth on Xenophobia (courtesy of Better Internet SG)

Let’s Create a Better Internet Together

Celebrated on 10 February 2015, Safer Internet Day (SID) is a global public awareness movement started in 2004 by the Insafe Network. This is a network of Awareness Centres funded under the Safer Internet Programme of the European Commission.

Taking place on the second Tuesday of February each year, Safer Internet Day promotes the safe and responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially amongst children and young people. This is especially critical considering how many hours a day we spend online.

This year, Singapore will join over 100 countries around the world to commemorate Safer Internet Day on 10 February 2015. In line with the global SID theme of “Let’s Create a Better Internet Together”, the Media Literacy Council (MLC)’s campaign this year focuses on “recognising good”.

As part of Safer Internet Day 2015, MLC has identified 50 ordinary folks and groups who help to make Internet better. These are people demonstrate respect, responsibility, empathy, and integrity in their online interactions – be it posting a kind word or a constructive comment.

Folks who start positive causes on Facebook, make encouraging videos, or reach out to audiences are also featured. Their stories can be found at the Better Internet SG website (see screen shot below).

Better Internet SG - Website

Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

Beyond spreading good vibes, Safer Internet Day is also about encouraging all of us to adopt the “glass half full” mentality. Rather than focus on what we lack, why don’t we focus on the blessings that we already have.

It is also about one of Stephen Covey’s famous 7 Habits – “Seek ye first to understand, and then to be understood”. Instead of merely advancing our own selfish interests, we should consider the needs, wants and desires of others.

An advocate of abundant thinking. I believe that the pie is bigger than what we imagine it to be. The more we concentrate on being generous, staying optimistic, giving others the benefit of the doubt, and doing positive things for ourselves and others, the greater our overall health, happiness and well-being.

Here’s a cute little video by MLC depicting how negativity actually shrinks our hearts…

What if Someone Attacks You Online?

Occasionally, we may experience online remarks which hurt or disparage us.

If I come across remarks that are negative, I would try to understand the other person’s point of view. If they are valid, I will acknowledge them while putting across my views in a polite and civil manner. As far as possible, I will focus my discussions on the topic and keep personal issues aside.

People are usually nastier on the web than they are face-to-face. In fact, most keyboard warriors are fairly mild mannered in real life!

All you need to do is offer to have coffee or a drink with the antagonist, speak to him or her in a friendly and sincere manner. More often than not, the issue will dissipate into thin air.

Here are some tips on managing online trolls, haters and critics. And yes, please don’t be a troll (see video for examples)!

Starting Them Young

To inculcate positive Internet behaviours from young, MLC will also be launching the 2015 iZ HERO Challenge. This year, the challenge includes a play and learn virtual world called where kids from 6 to 13 years of age can have fun learning to be independent and responsible digital media users.

An Inter-Ministry Cyber-Wellness Steering Committee (ICSC) is also seeking Call for Proposals for the positive use of the Internet and mobile technologies among young people. These proposals could be in the protection against cybercrime, balancing online and offline activities, and information literacy, among others. Closing date for submission is 18 Feb 2015. More information on MOE’s website.

What Do You THINK?

Before we go, here are some tips from MLC on how we can do good online. There are useful hints there on how we can be safe, be smart, and be kind, while embracing the values of media literacy, ie empathy, respect, responsibility, and integrity.

I especially love the use of the acronym THINK in our online conduct, ie:

  • Is it True?
  • Is it Helpful?
  • Is it Inspiring?
  • Is it Necessary?
  • Is it Kind?

So, what do you think? Are you ready to play your part in building a better Internet for Singapore?

For more information on MLC and Safer Internet Day, do visit their website, like their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, or watch their videos on YouTube. Participate by using the hashtag ‪#‎betterinternetsg‬ for your posts.

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