By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Grace Poe wants to make social media awareness part of primary and secondary education in public and private schools.
Poe on Tuesday, July 2, filed Senate Bill No. 129, which seeks the inclusion of social media and its importance in the curriculum of primary and secondary levels of education in the country.
This was one of the first 10 measures she filed to begin her second term in Senate.
“Social media is upon us and should be put to good use by teaching the youth the value of responsible, fair and truthful usage,” Poe said in a statement.
“Magandang lugar ang mga paaralan para maimulat ang mga kabataan sa responsable, mapanuri at produktibong paggamit ng social media. Kailangang mabigyan din sila ng sapat na impormasyon kung ano ang maaaring i-post, ano ang mga dapat iwasang paniwalaan agad, at kung paano mag-beripika ng mga datos. Para na rin ito sa kanilang kaligtasan,” she added.
(Schools are an ideal place to teach the youth on the responsible, critical and productive use of social media. They should also be given enough information about what they can or cannot post, what should not be believed easily, and how to verify data. This is also for their safety.)
In her bill, the Department of Education (DepEd), in consultation with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), will formulate the necessary steps and measures to achieve these objectives.
Aside from elementary and high school, Poe also sought to include social media education in the National Service Training Program (NSTP), particularly in the service components pertaining to the Literacy Training Service and the Civic Welfare Training Service.
The bill tasks the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), in consultation with DICT, to lead its implementation.
The “Digital 2019, a report from Hootsuite and We are Social showing people’s online behavior around the world, found that Filipinos spend an average of 10 hours a day on the internet.
Digital 2019 also revealed that social media use in the Philippines was at 71 percent, above the worldwide average of 45 percent. It said Filipinos spent the most time on social media at four hours and 12 minutes on average per day.
It also showed that 79 million Filipinos aged 13 and older were on social media.
In her bill, Poe noted the role of social media in information dissemination and shaping of public discourse and opinion.
She said she hoped that the youth will learn the virtues of discernment and critical thinking amid the prevalence of so-called “fake news”.
“This bill seeks to insulate the citizenry from attempts to unscrupulously utilize Social Media for various kinds of black propaganda and misinformation which are detrimental to transparency, accountability and truthfulness which could frustrate a meaningful, fruitful and intelligent discourse towards nation-building,” Poe added.