MANILA, Philippines -- The best way to prevent cyberbullying and other online crimes is to teach students in school how to use social media responsibly rather than penalize such acts, a lawmaker said Friday.
"Instead of criminalizing cyberbullying and online behavior, I think the best way, the long-term solution, is to teach the young people not to be a cyberbully," Kabataan party-list Rep. Raymond Palatino told ANC.
"It is important that aside from parents, teachers also remind young people that whatever you do online will always have consequences. Even if you're anonymous, you can ruin another's reputation, you can hurt the feelings of other people," he added.
Palatino last month filed House Resolution No. 2901, which urges the education department to include social media topics in the basic education curriculum of elementary and high school.
He said it is important that children are taught how they should behave on the Web, especially now that the usage of social media and the Internet is still on the rise.
"I think social media usage will continue to rise; therefore, I think our schools, in order to be relevant, have to educate our young people," the lawmaker said.
He added, "Instead of discouraging young people to use technology inside the classroom, we might as well take advantage of the use of mobile phones and laptops, and teach them how to prevent cyberbullying."
Palatino said it is not necessary that a separate subject be given to students. A special topic on social media is enough to instruct children on how to behave well online and how to deal with cyberbullying.
"We know that cyberbullying is a fact, and hate speeches and racist comments are proliferating on the web. We have to protect our young people," he said.