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Use social media mindfully

I refer to your report, "Singapore residents rank third globally in social media usage" (The New Paper, Jan 26).

Given today's advanced technology, this is not surprising, but it comes with downsides.

Students may spend too much time on social media and neglect their studies, leading to a drop in their grades.

Even children as young as seven feel they cannot survive without social media.

There is this joke that one Primary 1 student answered in his science quiz that the three necessities for survival are Wi-Fi, Facebook and Android, instead of water, food and air.

There is also the negative aspect of the lack of human touch.

It is not uncommon to see in restaurants each family member looking at their own mobile devices.

I am afraid that if this trend continues, perhaps in 20 years, we will not know how to interact with one another face-to-face any more.

We will turn cold and become oblivious to our surroundings, and we certainly do not want that to happen.

So, we must take corrective action now.

We can start off by using social media responsibly, instead of as a platform for rumours.

We must also be educated that using social media for a prolonged period is not a good idea as it can lead to eye strain.

Only when we understand the long-term adverse impact of excessive social media usage will we limit our use of it.


Changes in US unsettling

There was a time when I used to look to the US for inspiration. It was the one place that beckoned.

It always seemed to have welcoming arms. Its Statue of Liberty is a symbol of a new beginning for migrants as they approach its shores.

Now I am not sure.

For me, a third-generation Singaporean for whom maturity has set in, I am thankful for the stable and sensible home I was born into.

This is reinforced when I look at the issues that have cropped up in Europe, and now America.

But for many others from countries where circumstances are dire, the US remains their next stop and final hope for a better life, though this may be receding now.

The US was always the standard-bearer of humanitarianism.

It fought hard not just for human welfare, but for people to have the right to choose and be able to express themselves.

But now as it turns inwards, it leaves humanity unsure and exposed.

For a country that has led the way since the Second World War, this change in attitude is unsettling, and makes for an uncertain future that concerns us all.

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