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Social media not a suitable platform for students to discuss national issues, says Hwa Chong Institution on GE advisory

SINGAPORE — Social media is not a suitable platform for students to be discussing their views on national issues, especially during the General Election (GE), said a spokesperson from Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) on Friday (July 3).

A screenshot of the advisory from Hwa Chong Institution that has been circulating on social media.

A screenshot of the advisory from Hwa Chong Institution that has been circulating on social media.

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SINGAPORE — Social media is not a suitable platform for students to be discussing their views on national issues, especially during the General Election (GE), said a spokesperson from Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) on Friday (July 3).

The school’s comments came after a screenshot of an advisory that was posted on the school’s online notice board made the rounds on social media this week.

The advisory, directed to its junior college students, asked students to refrain from posting or reposting any messages, tweets, posts, web links, photos and videos relating to the GE on both the students’ private social media platforms as well as those associated with the school and its programmes.

Explaining the advisory, the notice wrote: “As the context to many of these messages, tweets, posts, etc tend to be complex, and nuanced, it would be best to refrain from commenting on them on social media, especially on media which do not allow for longer more nuanced responses to these issues.”

It added that students can reach out to the staff member if an “online or media firestorm is brewing due to some unfortunate incident involving our Hwa Chong students”.

The advisory evoked criticism from netizens online who questioned why the school was attempting to regulate what students post on their private social media accounts.

In response to TODAY’s queries, an HCI spokesperson said the school’s position is that social media is not a suitable platform for students to be discussing their views on national issues as their posts could be “screen captured, taken out of context and circulated further, even if the original posts were published in their private accounts”.

“Such digital footprints could remain even if the posts were removed,” the spokesperson said.

That being said, the spokesperson added that the school does not wish for its students to be “apathetic regarding national issues”.

“But because of their youth, we also do not want them to be inadvertently embroiled in agendas beyond their control,” she said.

She further emphasised that HCI’s intention is “not to silence students’ voices, nor to curb their interest in national issues”, but to encourage students to engage in active discussions and debates on these issues in a safe environment.

That is why the advice was issued to students to remind them of the “importance of exercising care and sensitivity on all social media platforms, even on their own private accounts, given the public nature of social media”, the spokesperson said.

Related topics

Singapore General Election SGVotes2020 Hwa Chong Institution

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