Ignorance of social media’s influence can be deadly, cautions Fatimah

Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, May 15: The ‘ignorance’ of netizens in their actions can lead to serious consequences, warned Minister of Welfare, Community Well Being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah.

“I believe that the netizens who voted ‘D’ (death) did not think nor expect that their actions could have caused harm until it occurred,” she told DayakDaily when contacted today.

“I hope they have learned their lesson and to be more sensitive, responsible and mature in their actions in future.”
Fatimah was responding to the death of a 16-year-old girl from Batu Kawah, here, who allegedly leapt to her death after holding a ‘live or die’ poll on Instagram (IG).

Padawan district police chief Supt Aidil Bolhassan revealed that based on the result of the poll, 69 per cent of her IG followers supported the victim’s decision to end her life and 31 per cent chose ‘L’ (life).

Fatimah pointed out that ignorance isn’t always bliss and that it was time to recognise the need for ethical considerations on using social media.

“I have come across a joke that quickly turned sour. The teenagers were playing a joke on their friends through a group chat on WhatsApp, which caused the victim to be embarrassed, stressed, depressed and almost commit suicide,” she shared.

More importantly, she advised parents to help or send their children for counselling or therapy when they have problems they cannot cope with alone.

“We need to destigmatise counselling and make it more accessible and available, especially to children,” she said.

Fatimah advised and encouraged people with problems or depression to seek help from online counselling services at the State Women and Family Department (JWKS) helpline, welfare helpline, Sarawak Women for Women Society (SWWS) helpline and Mental Health Association counselling services. — DayakDaily