Is Facebook safe for our children?
Thursday, 22 December, 2011In a country like Botswana, where there is no e-Legislation, anyone can use the internet, email and phones as they wish. And just like anywhere else in the world, minors in Botswana are on Facebook, which is the most popular website and/or social networking site in the country.
Over 150,000 Batswana are on Facebook and I am sure it has already created problems to be uncovered in the near future. Most of these users are teenagers, mainly high school and university students. The question is, does our government care about use of Facebook? Are our Children safe on Facebook?
The Use of facebook by age is a hot topic in the United States, where at least there is an advanced e-Legislation in place. There are acts such as The Children Online Privacy Protection Act, at least to protect American children. What about us, where most parents think it’s cool for their children to have computers and use face book at home, and even at school? As of late, US President Barrack Obama and first lady Michiele Obama revealed that they don’t let their daughters (Sasha and Malia) use Facebook. I will encourage parents in Botswana too not to let minors use Facebook, or at least monitor how they use it. I am sure there are many uncovered cases where young ones are being hooked up for sex on Facebook.
The age question is very important. In the US minors less than 13 years are restricted to use the online social site, in line with Facebook’s statement of Rights and Responsibilities. However, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, hopes to one day lift the minimum age restriction on the social network, allowing those under 13-years-old to create an account. The company believes in having multiple systems in place, and educating its users. Facebook says it is very difficult to restrict age and believes in working with parents to prevent children underage to use the site.
There are many cases of Facebook misuse. For example, Investigators in the United States have arrested a man who they say contacted a 12-year-old girl on Facebook to arrange a meeting for sex. A Northern Ireland man is suing Facebook after his 12-year-old daughter posted provocative photos on the social network. An Australian father posted on Face book that he was going to kill his daughter before repeatedly stabbing her. There are countless Facebook scandals out there.
So I would like to urge parents to monitor their children’s account by use of privacy controls and cautioning them on the use of certain applications on the internet, especially how they use of Facebook. I would also encourage government to implement an e-Legislation, they have been talking about it for a long time.