What is it about Facebook that seems to cause sensible people to lose all sense of perspective and reason? Why does it cause such a sense of hysteria and suspicion in ordinarily reasonable people? This could be true of both Facebook users and those who shun it like the plague. Users can post completely inappropriate/stupid/untrue (delete as appropriate) comments, and then are shocked when people are upset by them. But Facebook avoiders are also guilty of inappropriate attitudes towards it by allowing it more power and influence than in reality it deserves.
What seems to be happening is that events that would usually have absolutely no bearing on a work situation or a child’s school experience are now becoming an active part of it.
A mother in the USA who says her 13 year old daughter was forced to let school officials browse her Facebook page is speaking out because, she says, “other parents are scared to talk about it.”
Pam Broviak, who lives in the Chicago suburb of Geneva, says her daughter was traumatised when the principal of Geneva Middle School South forced the child to log in to her Facebook account, then rummaged through the girl’s private information.
There have been several descriptions lately of Facebook prying by schools in the US – and one lawsuit was recently filed by the American Civil Liberties Union anonymously against a school district that allegedly demanded a student’s social media passwords. Broviak however may be the first parent to talk publicly about her concerns over what she sees as serious violations of children’s privacy.
Talking with msnbc.com, Broviak said she spoke to school officials about the incident involving her daughter when it occurred and was told that they routinely look into student issues by asking kids to log into their social networking pages – or mobiles – in the presence of school staff. Broviak said she didn’t think this should ever be permitted without contacting the parents first.
There are sone significant issues raised here and it’s time that the UK government faced up to the Facebook phenomenon and take a look at current laws. If they don’t act now, the way things are going their hand will be forced by someone brining their own legal action and the courts will decide how we ‘police’ the Internet. Or maybe that’s what those in government would secretly prefer- to have the matter taken out of their hands so they can blame someone else for making decisions about this contentious issue.
Meanwhile Broviak’s daughter, has learned an important lesson about whom she should place her trust in. I hope however that she has also learned that what one posts on Facebook can have consequences, so be careful what you post and be careful who can see it.