#VoxPopuli: For My Generation of Netizens

by Sam Mateo

[This essay won 1st place in the Grade 7 category of the Humanities Festival 2018’s Essay Writing Contest. The theme this year is “In Pursuit of Truth in a Post-truth World”, which all essay submissions are related to.]

In our era, truth is slowly disappearing from this world. Where we live, it is so rare that the very idea of living in a world where it prevails is almost unthinkable. Robberies are committed by the young and old alike. Politicians get people to believe that they are helping the country by using pretenses that we do not realize are fake until the country is buried deep in debt and poverty. The greedy ones fool people into giving up everything they own in exchange for tears and sorrow. One may ask why this is so. There are many reasons but I believe that misuse of social media is one of the major causes.

To many people, social media is very inviting. To some, it is a place to tell others about your life. To others, it is a place to express your feelings. To a lot, it can help you communicate with those you want to talk to. For some, their livelihood depends on it. For a few, it is a place where they can do their duty to the country. But for me, I look at social media as another version of the world where you are free to do anything you want. This is good, bad, neither and both. A person with a good idea and pure intentions can make social media into something that improves lives. But a person with a cunning plan could make social media into something that destroys lives.

Perhaps some of the people reading this essay know of the feeling of waiting for announcements of #WalangPasok. As a former resident of Pasig City, I know for a fact that Pasig rarely announces class suspensions early. But when the suspension is finally announced on Pasig City Command Center’s Facebook page, I feel happy and grateful that I do not have to go to school in the heavy rain. If the news did not reach me, I would have went to school but since there was a storm, it would be unpredictable if I reached the school safely. I agree that social media is useful to us at times but, is it always an improvement to our lives?

My family watches 24 Oras, the daily news show of GMA, every night. On the show, I hear of many issues but a certain issue that caught my eye was the modelling workshop scam. Here, someone pretends to be a talent scout and tells a girl he meets on social media to join a fake modelling workshop. Once the girl agrees, she is asked to pay the ‘membership fee’. After the money has been paid, the ‘talent scout’ mysteriously disappears, never to be seen again. This has happened multiple times and was made possible by greedy people who care about nothing but money. They have used social media to their advantaged and fooled people.

But, as I said earlier, misuse of social media causes problems for us and not social media itself. If we learn to use social media properly, the spread of truth may have a fighting chance to prevail. In my opinion, campaigns about the proper use of social media to the whole country will do little for us. It will be like yelling at a teenager wearing headphones that he still has an errand to do. He will have heard but if he does not feel like following, he will tell you that he did not hear anything. I think that using social media properly should be taught to the new generation. They can still be molded into model citizens that our islands yearn to be inhabited by. Campaigns can be used simply to support this program. If this succeeds, the number of cybercrime and fake news cases will be at its lowest in a few decades.

Let us not forget that we must be responsible citizens, too. There is no doubt that if we put our hearts to it, we can turn social media into something that can wreck the country but make us rich beyond our wildest dreams. We have a choice and this choice could change everything. You could choose to wreak havoc or choose to keep quiet. But dear readers, I ask you to choose to teach others to use social media for good and believe that one day, we can achieve a world where truth forever prevails. The future of cybercrime and fake news depends on it. #




The official English-language publication of the Philippine Science High School–Main Campus.

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The Science Scholar

The Science Scholar

The official English publication of the Philippine Science High School–Main Campus. Views are representative of the entire paper.

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