Mon | Dec 18, 2017

Children sharing too much information - Green

Published:Wednesday | November 22, 2017 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines
Floyd Green

The nation's children are oversharing on social media and negatively impacting their future in the process, according to Floyd Green, State Minister in the Ministry of Education.

Speaking on Monday at the launch of the Office of the Children's Advocate's, 'Be Social ... Be Smart' guide at the Knutsford Court Hotel, Green argued that social media has lulled persons into a false sense of security and in doing so, it has convinced children that it is a private space. The social media guide includes one for children under 12 years; one for teens; and the other which for adults, which targets mainly parents and teachers.

"We need to remove that fallacy from the minds of our children," Green stated.

"Nothing you do on social media is private, no matter if it disappears in 24 hours like is the case with snapchat, it never goes away and that's the reality that we have to keep telling our children. So, I say to our students, anything you share on social media, you should be willing to go in the public square and shout it out loud because that is what you're doing," Green added.

 

WIDER IMPLICATIONS

 

To further support his argument, Green referenced the Harvard College scenario in June, in which the institution rescinded admission offers to at least 10 prospective members of the Class of 2021.

This, after the students traded sexually explicit memes and messages that sometimes targeted minority groups in a private Facebook group chat.

"The question must be, what does your social media say about you? Because, often time to us it is representing your true self," said Green.

Green further explained that the ministry would be taking a more sustained approach in ensuring that both parents and teachers can effectively monitor children in the social media space.

To this end, Green urged teachers to appropriately manage their social media profile while indicating that parents should have some access to their children's mobile phones.

"I often say to children, if you have to hide it, it shouldn't be on your phone," Green stated.

He continued: "And quite frankly, a lot of the things on their phones are crimes because we have the Cybercrimes Act that makes cyber-bullying a crime, harassment is a crime and the sharing of pornographic material of our children is a crime. So, often time we get these videos and we may laugh and pass it on not recognising that we're participating in a criminal enterprise. We have to frankly say to our children that this must stop."