Port Moresby: More awareness needs to be done to educate the public, especially young people about the cyber laws that we have in place to guide them when they are conducting themselves on the different social media platforms.
This was the sentiment shared by six lively grade 12 students from Jubilee Catholic Secondary School who took the Tribe FM studio by storm during their appearance on Wednesday, April 27 on the Chatroom talkback show to discuss the topic ‘Social Media and its impact on young people’.
Introducing the topic was Daniel Zacharias who defined social media as a computer-based technology that facilitates the sharing of ideas, thoughts, and information through virtual networks and communities.
In his introduction, Mr. Zacharias said that they decided to take on this topic because it's dear to their hearts considering the fact that despite social media having its benefits, young people are the ones who are at the receiving end of the negative impacts.
Speaking on the benefits and disadvantages of social media on the lives of young people, Gavriel Chalau, said that young people are more vulnerable to experiencing the negative impacts of social media than to its advantages.
“Social media has really deprived human beings, especially young people of the real human experience”, he said.
He stressed that young people need validation from their virtual peers which causes them to yearn to always be online just to prove themselves to others and this leads to addiction, lack of time management and low self-esteem.
He said while Social Media empowers and gives voice to people, it also takes away the human element in communication because there are no immediate consequences when someone offends another person online because the perpetrators are hiding behind their screens and fake personalities.
Apart from the negative impacts, the benefits of social media on the lives of young people stated include interacting with each other for schoolwork purposes, advocating on social issues, and influencing the latest trends in fashion.
Francis Griffin who emphasized the importance of young people knowing about the cyber laws in PNG shared the same sentiments on social media’s influence on fashion on young people and attributed his inspiration on fashion trends to Instagram and Pinterest.
He said that it is very unfortunate that a lot of Papua New Guineans still do not know about the Cyber Law Act and how to go about taking the perpetrators of this act to court.
“If the public is made aware that there are such laws in place, victims of cybercrimes know that they have that avenue and how to go about seeking justice and it will also deter those who are harassing and bullying others online because they will be made aware of the consequences”, he said.
He also called on other youths to visit the National Information and Communications Technology Authority (NICTA) website or their social media pages and learn more about the Cyber Laws Act.
When speaking on how social media affects relationships, Attalitta Krewenty highlighted that social media is the root cause of social disconnection.
“Social Media creates a fake version of reality that sometimes young people believe and the more they try to stay in this fake version of reality, the more they become socially disconnected to people around them and this often leads to jealousy, conflict, isolation, anxiety and depression”, she said.
Fifth speaker Delilah Purai called on young social media users to be responsible for the type of content they post and urged them to beware of some people with malicious intentions on social media.
She also shared her personal experience on attending the Media Education Seminar and how it helped her be a young and responsible user of social media.
“I was fortunate to attend the Media Education Seminar last year and apart from the media sessions, we were taught by Fr. Ambrose Pereira sdb to be responsible users of social media, especially with the type of content we post”, she said.
She concluded her points by stating that social media not is a bad thing but it is how young people use it that makes it bad and so we must use it for the right purposes.
Wrapping up the discussion was Molly Tongela who made a stern call to the parents to make time out of their busy schedules and be fully involved in their children’s lives and upbringing.
“Children will only face the negative impacts of social media in their lives if parents are not there to guide and educate them on how to properly use social media”, she said.
She also urged parents to discipline their children and teach them time management at a young age so that they can be able to discipline themselves and limit their screen time if they are on social media.
Animator of Jubilee Catholic Secondary School Mr. Tommie Kaekae said that he was pleased with initiatives such as the Chatroom that not only involve young people but also build their character and self-esteem as well.
The Chatroom for Wednesday, May 4th will have the students from St Charles Lwanga Secondary School.