NEWS

Ministry Probes Social Media Use By Minors

The Ministry of Education has ordered an investigation into the use of social media by teachers to post pictures of students who are minors without the consent of parents. A
16 Mar 2016 11:15
Ministry Probes Social Media Use By Minors

The Ministry of Education has ordered an investigation into the use of social media by teachers to post pictures of students who are minors without the consent of parents.

A complaint has been lodged with the Minister for Education Mahendra Reddy after parents of a minor discovered pictures of their child taken during school hours which was posted on Facebook by a Nausori teacher.

This incident has brought to light another shocking fact that students, as young as 11-years-old, have Facebook accounts and teachers were aware of this.

It was noted that the teacher also tagged students, whom were all minors, in pictures and e-Christmas cards.

To be eligible to have a Facebook account, one has to be at least 13-years-old. Many seen in the posts are yet to turn 13.

Mr Reddy said that teachers would be taken to task if established that they were aware of students under 13 are on Facebook and no steps were taken to discourage it.

“If we also find staff taking photos of students and posting on their personal Facebook accounts, they will be disciplined.

“This was a non-issue about 20 years ago, but it is a big issue now- the dangers that internet poses and teachers will be given adequate trainings to raise these issues with students,” Mr Reddy said.

Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre co-ordinator Shamima Ali said parents also need to take responsibility of their children’s online activities.

“You also have to wonder whether parents and guardians are aware of what their children and ward do on the internet, the people they meet with and what sort of pictures they put online.

“We receive several cases at the centre of cyberbullying; stalking and of boyfriends putting up naked pictures of their girlfriends after their breakup. Young people are not aware of the dangers they put themselves in when they are out there on social media interacting with people they have never met.

“They also do not realise that once a picture has been posted online, it is next to impossible to remove it.

“We also need to know where these young kids are getting money from to buy recharge for their data. It comes down to teachers and parents to play a much larger role in monitoring what children get up to,” she said.

Commissioner of Police Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho, while acknowledging that having a Facebook account was not a crime, said it opened young people to possibilities leading them to crime.

“Parents need to be responsible. They need to be talking to their children about the dangers they are exposing themselves to and how just having a Facebook account can lure them into possible criminal activities,” Brigadier-General Qiliho said.

“We have had cases of women being raped by men they met on Facebook. All this is a reality. The religious leaders also need to be raising awareness about the dangers of social media.”

Edited by Paula Tuvuki

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 

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