Don’t let new technology affect family ties: Minister

James Kon

New technology which in addition to bringing benefits to the well-being of families may also cause effects on the family institution such as affecting children’s development and family harmony, said Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin in his message for International Day of Families 2021 that fell yesterday.

He said to ensure that family institutions remain strong and resilient in overcoming challenges, an effort must be made to create a society that is united, sustainable and protected from social ills, in addition to fostering a caring and compassionate community.

This is in line with the second goal of Brunei Vision 2035 which is to create a resilient and cohesive society where social harmony is through community unity.

The minister said, “International Day of Families is celebrated around the world and was founded by the United Nations (UN) in 1993 to raise awareness on the importance of families and the issues that bring impact to it.”

Having strong family ties, he said, “is the backbone to a safe environment, and necessary for the development of an individual. In Brunei Darussalam, the family institution is indeed the foundation of a society which contributes towards the development of the country, and as such we have also celebrated National Family Day every May since 2012”.

The theme of International Day of Families this year is ‘Families and New Technologies’, which Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan belived is intended “to increase awareness of new technologies supporting the transition towards sustainable development, and that digital technology plays a role in the social development and well-being of all.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin. PHOTO: MCYS

“It cannot be denied that technology has played an important role in improving society’s quality of life. This was apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic which demonstrated the importance of digital technology for employment, education and communication.

Alhamdulillah, with the policies and initiatives undertaken by the Government of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam to take advantage of new technologies, it has helped facilitate the daily caring of families, including healthcare; facilitating employment and income sources for families; ensuring the continuity of the child’s education while at home; and also assisting in childcare while working. The use of digital technology also has the potential to help families by empowering parents in improving their parenting skills for their families’ well-being,” the minister added.

The purpose of family formation, the minister said, “is to create a family which is sakinah (peaceful and happy), mawaddah (full of love) and warahmah (blessed). Supporting and strengthening the family institution is a shared responsibility between the government, communities and individuals. All family members should play their roles, with mutual respect and tolerance, in line with the philosophy of the Malay Islamic Monarchy as a basis for the construction of a family with noble values that form the nation which is dynamic, with a strong sense of community, is open to discussions, wise in decision making, and able to grasp progress and development based on the teachings of Islam.

He added “Alhamdulillah, we had the opportunity to listen to the Friday sermon on April 30 which emphasised on family being the most important institution in a community. In addition to that, the family prayer was read out in mosques after Isyak prayer, before the start of Tarawikh prayers on May 1 as part of the efforts in urging everyone to care, love and strengthen the family institution, for the sake of a harmonious society.”

The minister also advised, “Let us be mindful of our roles as members of families; whether as a father or husband who is the head of the family; or as a mother or wife as the supporter and advisor in the family; or even children who complement the joy in a family. Every member plays an important role and has a responsibility towards the creation of a happy and harmonious family.”

The minister also wished families in Brunei Darussalam a Happy International Day of Families 2021.