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WSMC2014 opens with ceremony featuring Malaysia’s children

Opening of the 7th WSMC in Kuala Lumpur, the Summit Patron and wife of the Prime Minister of Malaysia, YBhg. Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor, said that parents’ roles are vital in guiding children through the media maze in a safe, balanced and responsible way.

She said that while children take to the media like ducks to water, they lack the critical thinking skills to analyse mediated messages to make informed choices and decisions wisely. 

“They do not have media literacy or know how to ‘read’ the media, particularly those meant for adult audiences,” Datin Seri Rosmah told delegates. “The question is, can those who create content and control the media be trusted to provide the truth and to give different sides to the issues being presented?” 

Datin Seri Rosmah mentioned research showing the negative effects screen violence could have on young minds and said countries such as Malaysia had codes and guidelines for content producers, developing and enforcing good practices essential for regulating the media industry.

“However, I believe that as adults, educational experts, media industry professionals, policy makers and leaders of society, we have a larger and more defining role in determining what our children watch, listen to and read in the media,” Datin Seri Rosmah went on.

“As part of the wider public knowledge creation and discussion we have the more important responsibility to inculcate media literacy in our children and young people to help them grow into educated and responsible adults. This entails giving them skills to gain access to media content, to understand the media they access, to help them create content responsibly and to learn through the media to enhance their overall developmental well-being.

“As parents, we are our children’s first teacher,” she said. “We do our children no favour by keeping them away from the Internet and other media because it is part of a child’s life today. But we have a duty to guide them towards a balanced, safe and responsible use of technology. It is therefore crucial for us to familiarise ourselves with the media that are mushrooming around us and to explore them together with our children as an active participant.”