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WSMC2014: Child safety online needs extra effort, expert warns

Keeping kids safe in today’s cyber playground takes effort, planning and communicating, a media expert told an ABU-hosted world media conference in Malaysia.

Dr Darussalam Abu Bakar, Professor of Broadcasting, Faculty of Communication and Media Studies, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Malaysia, said social media had in a way become the new playground and everyone wanted to either be friends or be the feared bully in the yard.

Speaking at a pre-summit workshop before the 7th World Summit on Media for Children in Kuala Lumpur, Dr Abu Bakar said the advent of social media and the electronic media had brought new issues for parents and educationists and required effort, planning and communicating, including with children themselves.

 “Social media has come of age with more people using smartphones and tables to access social networks,” he said. “Today young people are spending more time living on the Internet – in chat rooms, multi-user dimension environments during game-play etc. We can see the effects of cyberspace in this digital age generation … therefore it’s very important for us to overcome the challenges of the virtual maze and to make the internet a safer place for our children.”

A special interactive discussion titled ‘What Kids Want Online’  was also held in the workshop involving students from SMK Bukit Bandaraya, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, as guest speakers to share their opinions and thoughts about interacting in cyberspace.

The 7th WSMC – the first to be held in Asia –  is organised by the ABU and the WSMC Foundation and hosted by Radio Televisyen Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur from 8-10 September 2014.