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Good leaders set good examples

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

Article by Jacqueline Arnold @ TwentyTwo13 (14 June 2023)

A recent news report quoted experts saying that the lack of online etiquette among adults and adolescents contributed to cyberbullying. Is this news to you?

The adage “monkey see, monkey do” comes to mind.

In the article to promote a psychologically safe environment for adolescents, experts advised parents to teach their children online courtesy when they start using a smart device.

Even if parents heed this advice, children see bad examples in the headlines and on social media almost daily. The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), in collaboration with the University of Nottingham Malaysia and two local universities, to collect data through a social media monitoring project, revealed that race-based narratives topped the list of local social media posts in the month leading up to GE15.

The majority of the posts were by politicians and political parties, with the top three players being the then-prime minister, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, then opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, and PAS.

The findings of this study revealed that PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and his party were the biggest amplifiers of race, securing enormous traction among social media users.

Among the key racial issues during the GE15 period were anti-Chinese sentiments, Malay supremacy, and the May 13 racial riot.

In addition to demonising opponents by labelling them atheists and anti-Islam, hate speech against the LGBT community was rampant.

The study also showed that many social media posts were offensive, dehumanising, hostile, and incited violence.

The ability to reason and write a good argument in polite language is almost unheard of today. When social media came through the door, good manners and politeness jumped out the window.

Good manners seem to have evaporated. The four magic phrases, “Please”, “May I”, “Thank you”, and “Sorry” are alien to many. People are more short-tempered and on edge these days.

Perhaps we need to include courses that teach the art of diffusing potentially volatile situations into the school curriculum. A simple “sorry” goes a long way.

Or maybe if our so-called ‘leaders’ set better examples, we would see some positive changes in society.

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