As per India Today, the Gurgaon police have deactivated the Facebook accounts of 1200 school students to prevent them from being distracted. Students upto Class X are being made aware of cyber crimes and their Facebook accounts deactivated.
Nearly 23 schools including the likes of DPS, Lotus Valley, Ajanta Public School, Shiv Naeer, Sri Ram, Blue Bells, CCA schools and more from DLF, Sushant Lok, Sohna Road, Sector 56, Sector 43, Old Gurgaon are cooperating with the police.
The deactivation drive has been guided by cyber expert Rakshit Tandon, while students and their guardians are made aware of cyber crime and the punishments associated with it. The school principals have given strict orders to keep students away from social sites.
A private research firm from Delhi had conducted a survey on 1000 students in 12 schools earlier and had found that ‘the performance of students without a Facebook account was 15-20 per cent better than the students who did not have social media accounts.’
“Social sites are necessary, but the kids end up doing wrong things there. This drive to make them aware of the dangers,” Police Commissioner Alok Mittal said on the deactivation drive.
Deactivating their students’ accounts on Facebook has been reported in many schools as a measure to protect their online safety. Earlier last year, a 13-year old student from Vidya Niketan in Bangalore had complained of being bullied on social media, which led to the school asking parents of their students in class 1 to 10 to ensure their social networking accounts were deactivated.
Some schools were reported to have asked their students to delete their Facebook account altogether. Last October, prestigious schools in Bangalore including Delhi Public School, St John High School and Vidya Niketan Public School had asked students to delete their Facebook account, following concerns of online safety and addiction to social networking.
While school principals are cooperating with the police and cyber crime experts in having their students stay away from Facebook, the social networking giant, on its part, is also actively working on being a responsible social network. Last September, Facebook published a guide to help educators and the community better support teens accessing the social network.
The 16-page PDF document ‘Facebook for Educators and Community leaders‘ created with the help of experts in safety, covers various aspects of understanding teens and their attitude towards social media, Facebook’s Community Standards with guidelines that govern how the billion users of the network interact with each other in a safe manner, reporting abuse, preventing bullying, controlling your privacy, online security, safe mobile usage and right app settings.
Additionally, Facebook teamed up with Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) to bring Internet Safety Education programs for students between the age group of 13 to 17. The partnership announced last year will have Facebook safety specialists work with IAMAI trainers on safety content and participate in the training programs by IAMAI called ‘Safe Surfing’.
The education programs train children, teachers and parents on how to reap maximum benefits from internet while not compromising on their safety and security.
While the internet and social networks are rife with cases of cyber bullying, sexual harassment, child predators, it is also a space leading teenagers to suffer from low self esteem. Talking on the psychological impact of social networks on students, Leena Swamy, Prinicpal of Royal Concorde International school had stated that students often suffer from low self esteem ”because they see some pictures, or some peer going on a holiday and they are not.”
Social networks, especially Facebook has thrown up some tough challenges for everyone involved in the nurturing of young impressionable minds. Parents, schools, and Facebook itself is working towards curbing the menace that it may lead to, but apparently every party is resorting to its own means to tackle the situation.
Awareness or deactivation? What should be the ideal way for handling Facebook related distraction, low self-esteem, bullying and abuse in school students?