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Facebook facilitating pornography amongst PNG youth

Robin SuangROBIN SUANG

SOCIAL MEDIA have proven to be revolutionary in the way we communicate in Papua New Guinea.

The primary purpose of social media is to engage people of all walks of life and status, and to bring together friends who have not seen each other for years, all to communicate.

It is a fun and interesting way to learn, communicate, share photos and ideas and, in more recent times, campaign for elections, advertise products, debate pressing issues as well as helping each other in tough times.

Social media like Facebook, Twitter, Netlog and other enterprises that seem to increase by the day keep popping up everywhere.

I want to base this discussion on Facebook in Papua New Guinea because it is the one social media entity that has taken PNG by storm.

There are estimated to be over 30,000 Facebook users in PNG but the number might be much higher. Every day new Facebook accounts are created and many Papua New Guineans are able to communicate using this medium.

However, with such a technology, there are also security challenges – and threats also are rife in this social media age.

With the creation of sex content pages, many Papua New Guinean children are exposed to pornographic material.

School children are also exposing their bodies in the social media. For example, a Grade 6 student from a school in Port Moresby posted on her Facebook page nude pictures of herself which are very demeaning.

There are many people now uploading and downloading pornographic material through Facebook.

Many users do not report such sex themed posts, thus Facebook might not have any knowledge about them.

Of course, once such pornographic materials are exposed on Facebook, they can be difficult or impossible to remove, and this could make it very difficult for the person in his or her future endeavours.

Many people think of this sort of thing as fun, a joke or something to comment about, but I see this as a wakeup call for Facebook.

I think Facebook was intended for socializing, to build friendships, to communicate and share photos that are acceptable in society. However, these other uses are ruining its main purpose.

Many Papua New Guinean parents need to check what their children are up to on Facebook. In addition, Facebook needs to create a system to clean out this pornographic material.

There needs to be a review of certain features of Facebook and how it could better improve its service, especially in combatting pornography.

Most Facebook users in Papua New Guinea are teenagers, thus it is important for Facebook to work on its community obligation.

I believe that there is a need for the Censorship Board of PNG to look at this matter and to work with relevant authorities to battle pornography in our country.

This is a social issue, which is affecting a lot of people. Facebook is not at fault, but it is the people who use it who have created this ethical and moral issue.

Comments

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Gail Loup Ani

Media has become a culture and interactive media has taken over books.

As stated there is no control over the use of, in this case, mobile phones.

I teach English and have suggested introducing Media Literacy in the school curriculum in my school.

I already have broad learning outcomes and unit learning outcomes for Grades 9-12.

I am competent to teach it. The only thing is, no one in my school thinks it is worthwhile

Peter Kranz

There are three technical approaches to this.

1. Heavy handed. Build an international firewall/web filter. Huawei have experience of this in China. Useful since they have a contract to build the national PNG government IT infrastrucure. But you'd be copying the likes of China, Iran, Cuba etc. Bad for free speech.

2. Organisational filters. A company or departmental Internet filter. Easily available, but high maintenance (we did this at UPNG. It sits between your local network and the Internet link.)

3. Local adult-content filters. Many freely available for personal devices. Most browsers allow you to install an add-on that does this. Needs some technical knowledge. Can be by-passed by clever kids.

And two personal solutions

1. Become as IT savvy as your kids and control their internet access with monitoring and control. Again, heavy-handed and not conducive to good family relationships.

2. Educate your kids and support them in using appropriate access and some moral education. Not easy, but good parenting never is.

Sioni Ruma

In Papua New Guinea and many other Pacific island nations, there is continuing political, public and academic concern about the role of pornography in society and higher learning institutions.

The accessibility of the internet and the kinds of materials it makes available have renewed focus on the question of pornographic content, and what forms of pornography are being consumed nowadays.

Bernard Yegiora

Robin, a factual piece based on what is happening as we speak.

There are porn groups where nude pictures are uploaded, sex talk groups, gossip groups and the list is enless.

On the weekend I saw a picture of two Grade 8 students from Port Moresby Grammar kissing and fondling each other while still in their blue uniform. The tagged picture was making its usual rounds on all Facebook pages.

At this juncture, I now declare that it is a crisis situation. I know it is not my call, but from observation the abuse is growing at a rapid rate.

There is no form of authority to regulated the activity of those who go online.

Being a democratic country it may remain that way for an indefinite period of time.

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