There’s no denying that technology has completely transformed our lives, from the way we learn to how we work. With digital innovations constantly evolving, it’s essential to anticipate potential challenges and tackle them cautiously.
As an institution committed to inclusivity and diversity, we consistently emphasize cultivating harmony among our students, faculty, and staff in both online and offline settings. This guiding principle was highlighted in a virtual training session, “Teaching Peace as Solution to Digital Conflict,” hosted by the Community Development Office (CDO) via Zoom on July 30, 2023.
In this training, we focused on the importance of incorporating peace education in higher learning while equipping participants from CIIT and other institutions with the resources to develop a Peace Education module.
Why do digital conflicts arise?
Technology has its pros and cons. While it simplifies tasks in work and study, it also presents certain challenges. We talk to people online every day—and sometimes, our different views cause digital conflicts.
During a discussion on “Understanding Peace and Conflict,” Dr. Mark Anthony Torres of Mindanao State University mentioned several causes of digital conflicts, including ideological differences, misinformation/disinformation, fear, and insecurity. As social media users, we bear the responsibility to address these conflicts thoughtfully and responsibly.
So, how can we use social media responsibly?
Social media is a powerful tool that has revolutionized the way we communicate and connect with others. However, we must also be mindful of its consequences or potential negative effects.
In the conversation about “Definition and Characteristics of Digital Conflict,” Mr. MC Molanda from the Teach Peace Build Peace Movement pointed out that one of the primary causes of digital conflict is disinformation.
Disinformation refers to the dissemination of false information with the intent to mislead the target audience or damage a person’s or organization’s reputation. Thus, Mr. Molanda urges everyone to refrain from disseminating negative content and to ensure information comes from a credible source.
How can we establish peace even before engaging online?
Of course, ensuring peace goes beyond the digital world; it’s a universal commitment we should uphold wherever we go. One effective approach is promoting peace through civic education.
Prof. Yasmira Moner, program director of the Gender and Development Center at MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology, emphasized in her discussion on “Peace through Civic Education” the importance of fostering civic engagement within diverse communities and taking direct action when necessary.
Regarding the promotion of community peace, Prof. Saturnina Rodil, a retired faculty member from MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology, provided suggestions for developing a peace module. She stressed the importance of incorporating peace education into the curriculum of schools and universities.
When developing a peace module, the institution should consider the potential impact it will have on the students. This can result in students becoming more responsible for their actions, gaining greater global awareness, and ultimately, acquiring a stronger sense of their role as responsible citizens.
How can schools offer peace studies to students?
Dr. Regie Palmos, Director of the Center for Peace Education at the West Visayas State University, explored the possibility of schools and universities offering peace studies or education to their students. Additionally, the conversation addressed the specific requirements that need to be submitted to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to facilitate the inclusion of this subject.
Among the subjects he proposed are “Selected Key Themes of Peace and Education/Peace Studies,” “Upholding Human Dignity and Rights (including indigenous people’s rights),” “Promoting Nonviolence,” “Resolving and Transforming Conflict,” and more.
Continue to promote peace wherever we go
Creating a harmonious community is a mutual effort, with peace beginning within each of us. Since technological advancements are inevitable, it falls upon us to maintain a harmonious community that allows us all to fully enjoy the benefits of the digital age.
As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.”