Guwahati- Mr. Harmeet Singh, IPS, ADGP, Security, Administration, Modernization & Logistics, Social Media, i/c of Nagrik Mitra and Nodel Officer for inter-state movement in Assam, Assam Police, was the invited speaker in the webinar ‘Social Media in the times of COVID 19 – Fun & Learning’, held by Royal Global University(RGU) on 2 July 2020 from. He was joined in his deliberations by Dr.A.K.Pansari, Chancellor, Prof.(Dr.) S.P.Singh, Vice Chancellor, along with Academicians, police personnel, faculty, staff and students of RGU as well as participants from across India and moderated by Sattyakee D’Com Bhuyan.
Prof.Singh, in his opening deliberation expressed his gratitude to the police corona warriors who standing on the frontline across the length and breadth of the country are serving without a fathom for their lives.He said that 2.4 billion people are using the internet to stay connected in these lockdown times, exchanging the human library of knowledge from the USA to Japan. Speaking on the boon and bane of the internet, he opined on lives being enriched and harmed by social media. However, he hoped that the webinar with Mr.Singh should deride all aspects of negative social media and bring to the fore, for students, the boon that it is.
Mr.Singh, the man behind the campaign of ‘think before you stalk’, started with the generational gap existing between parents and children and how the pandemic has brought them closer via the internet. Considered a bane earlier, parents now encourage their children to do online classes, take online degrees and even take virtual tours of tourist destinations; they wanted to otherwise visit physically.
He spoke how during the Spanish Flu of 1918, public address systems were extensively used to advise people to advocate physical distancing; wear masks; maintain personal hygiene and even eat nutritious food to keep the disease at bay. Actors Akshay Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan has advocated to wear masks and not to treat COVID as a stigma.
He stated that social media is a powerful medium and influencer on the transitional minds of students and children, and fake news play an impressionable part in their behaviour. Whenever any information is forwarded or shared in whattsapp or facebook, the veracity of the information should be checked before getting entangled in it.
Mr.Singh, a concerned father and officer, chided the student community to refrain from using the social media to tarnish the image or troll any innocent person. Instead, he suggested them to learn fitness regimen, extra languages, read up the geography and culture of other nations, how to cook different cuisines, learn about artificial intelligence and be self reliant.
If on any occasion, students/social media users find cyber bullying or stalking, it must be immediately reported to police. Official government websites, ICMR, GMCH or Assam Police twitter handle should be referred to for authentic information on COVID or otherwise. He strongly advised all to avoid clicking on links which are from unknown origins, asking for COVID donations or personal bank data of a person, as one might become susceptible to phishing.
He also mentioned that facebook should be only limited to people one knows on a personal level and not ‘friend of friends’ as that will tantamount to inviting mischief mongers. He requested the listeners to report if anyone is suicidal or encouraging any extremes be it communal, religious or social disturbances, endure keeping strong fb passwords, always enquire anout any information received from relevant sources/police/websites or report if any organization demands money from students for giving jobs. ‘The spirit of enquiry helps to find answers’ and prodded students to do meaningful and deeper enquiries into any fact or photograph before letting it influence them into life altering action.
Dr. Pansari, in his inimitable humble self asked all viewers to inculcate the intrinsic value of social media and not its face value.