You know, it's too early to wish this. Call me judgmental or a nosy parker or whatever you wish to, I just have one question for Mark Zuckerberg. Did he ever put himself in the place of millions of parents, single mothers, doting fathers, immediate or extended family, and decide whether changed Facebook privacy settings would be beneficial for teenagers in ANY manner?
The answer is clear. It's a NO, followed by a 'probably never'. There was hardly any survey done to get the 'user feedback' or 'change in privacy settings'. Else, such an outrage on the net over Facebook's decision to allow free access to ANYONE into the profile of children, would have certainly met with a strong opinion from FB user parents, who could have preempted this whole mess.
Instead, FB team is possibly toasting for having turned very 'democratic' for children, just the way as other social networking sites are. Ask them how they would want to justify the changed privacy settings where ANYONE can access the images or posts of teens, FB shirks shoulders and says they play by the same rule as everyone else.
Why hasn't it been an issue when twitter or any other social networking site allows open access to anyone to anyone's account? Pray tell! Now, now, now...no matter how many people make the mistake, a wrong does not become a right.
Hence, if other sites are allowing it in some sense, which is probably less threatening than FB for the sheer reason of the number of people who regularly come into the folds of the social networking site, there is a simple answer. Not all social networking sites have as much membership as FB does. And, most people on FB are REAL. Yes, including the bullies and the predators.
You thought access to porn was the biggest threat for children on the internet. But, guess what, the quintessential and innocent Facebook has now turned into this enticing predator. Reason: The growing number of teens across the globe means 'business' to the social networking site.
There is hardly a day when cyber crime does not make it to the headline. That it's a cyber crime does not qualify to be treated specially, but internet as a possible medium of both crime and knowledge does shake more than your faith in the medium.
Let's not forget the Vancouver teen Amanda who tragically ended her life over cyberbullying entering into her real life too. The teenager, who was as naïve as anyone of her age could be, paid it with her life which was filled with depression, anxiety and loneliness after being subjected to constant humiliation which at one point turned into physical abuse too by friends and others, who jeered at the image of her breasts floating all around the web.
Everyone she knew had seen those images. She was forced to change schools. The unfortunate teenager couldn't even be allowed her share of folly, which she had committed almost a year ago. Someone even had a FB account where the image of her breasts was the profile picture. This was the last straw.
Amanda killed herself after running a series of handwritten cards in which she explained her ordeal, and uploaded the video. One or her cards said "the picture is out there, it's real and it's there forever..."
Changing schools didn't help. She found more exploiters and predators who came back to her with her friends' list and threatened to ravage her life all over again. When path to recovery was constantly intercut with more exploitation and humiliation, the lonely and suicidal teenager took a decision to finish the journey of her life. Not before using the same internet to tell her heart-wrenching story.
Internet, that usually opens gates into the virtual world, closes all doors on life when things turn upside down. You suddenly see your virtual reality triggering off a reaction from a friend, a boss or even a distant cousin who couldn't have cared if you were alive or not. Attention seeking behavior can have severe repercussions on the internet. Because, things on the net are like garbage in the space. They simply revolve around and never really go away. Because, there is nowhere to go! And that becomes your lone choice too. You won't know where to hide yourself after an embarrassing episode. Undo, is impossibility on internet.
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