Last week has been a pretty interesting week mostly because of the rumours about the censoring of Facebook in Sri Lanka. However now it seems that there will not be such censoring happening… well not at least in the near future.
The events that lead to such a situation is the suiciding of 2 teenage girls which involved Facebook. They’re pretty long stories I won’t go in to detail here, you can google or check my Medium blog to see more information about what happened.
In talking what to do to encourage good use of Facebook and use of other social media the situation of the country is pretty complex.
First most new users of Facebook and social media are teenagers, and unfortunately very few have good computer knowledge and knowledge in privacy settings and security settings on Facebook. Facebook is a website that changes there privacy settings all the time. It’s important for everyone to keep in track of these changes and make sure your profile’s privacy settings are upto date.
And because most of these users don’t have good knowledge in privacy and security, it’s easy for them to fall in to pitfalls on the internet.
It’s a well know fact on the internet that if your child is under 18 years parents should keep a close eye on their child’s online behaviours because they’re more prone to internet pitfalls at this age. But unfortunately internet is a new thing in the country and most parents and 30+ people in the country have very little knowledge about the internet and even little knowledge about modern day social networking like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook etc.
I saw this suggestion on the internet about educating children in good use of social media. I don’t know how practical that is because the number estimated Facebook users in the country is 3 million and majority will be in their early 20s and they’ll be pass their schooling age and it’s not easy to teach people about social media like teaching maths or science.
I think one way to improve the knowledge of good social media use is introduce computers to the lives of children as early as possible like at the age of 10-12. Here they’ll learn about good computer use and good internet behaviour before they are exposed to the real internet exposure and social networking where by then they’ll have an idea in how to protect themselves.
It’s understandable for older people calling to ban facebook. It’s mostly because they’ve never used facebook and they get a very bad impression when they think of facebook. And remember that facebook is just another website and if government censor it then kids will move to alternatives and it will forever be a cat and mouse race between censorship and alternatives.
So what’s your idea to keep children safe on Facebook?