Posted by Chiedu Uche Okoye | 18 February 2013 | 3,949 times
Some centuries ago, our world was in a state of underdevelopment; and, it was seized by ignorance and religious superstitions. At that time, the modes of transportation were primitive and time-consuming. People walked to their destinations on foot or rode on horseback. We had beasts of burden that would carry goods from one town to another for us, then. Courier men rode on horsebacks to dispatch missives to their owners. That was in the very distant past.
But, time changes everything. The only permanent thing in life is change. So, with the passage of time, we’ve witnessed improvements in the modes of transportation and communication owing to the advances we made in technology.
Now, we’ve cargo ships that ferry goods from one country to another; we have supersonic jets and airliners carrying passengers that travel at an incredible speed. Now, roads are well paved and asphalted; and, traveling from one city to another by roads takes lesser time than it used to take before.
More so, there are televisions and radios that disseminate information about happenings in the world. They entertain and educate us, too. At the click of a button, we can see video footages of what happened in America, London or Australia. We are in the Internet age. We are in the age of goggle, yahoo, cell-phone and others. The world has become a global village, and the people(s) of the world have become members of one closely-knit global village.
When Mark Zuckberg, a youngster, invented Facebook, he purposed it to be used by friends to communicate with one another and share information regarding their interests. Facebook is one of the sites where people interact with one another; and many people’s lives have been changed through its use. Some happily married people met their partners on Facebook, and they’ve been living happily after their wedding. There are other people who secured plum jobs based on the information they got from Facebook.
Now, people who share the same interests and values and study the same course in universities interact with one another on Facebook, and increase their knowledge via such educational interaction. When President Goodluck Jonathan removed fuel subsidy, thousands of Nigerians were mobilised via Facebook to oppose his unpalatable, unpopular and inhuman economic policy. This forced him to reverse his position on the issue. The removal of the Egyptian and the Tunisian presidents were made possible through the instrumentality and platform of Facebook.
Today, we use Facebook to canvass our positions on issues, and tell the outside world what obtains in our respective countries. Press censorship can prevent our articles that are critical of governments from being published, especially in countries where governments control and own media houses. And, knowing that their doings are no longer hidden from the public, leaders are compelled to act responsibly and decorously.
But things with positive sides have their flipsides, too. And, Facebook is no exception. It cannot be denied that Facebook has addictive potentials and properties. Teenagers stay hooked to the site chatting with strangers instead of reading their books. Long hours are invested in non-profitable and unedifying conversations that centre on trivialities, frivolities and petty issues. This attitude of our teenage girls and boys leads to a drastic drop in their academic performances. I am not unaware that some youths had abandoned their education in the universities owing to poor academic performance. A young person whose education is truncated owing to his addiction to 2go or Facebook sites has a blighted future.
More so, teenagers meet people on Facebook that proved to be bad influences on their lives. Being young people with flexible and impressionable minds, they can be easily influenced and their character re-moulded through their indulgence in unwholesome social interaction online. As the Bible points out, evil communication corrupts good manners. Many young people with twisted and perverted minds became morally debased as a result of their relationship with unscrupulous Facebook friends.
But our youths’ moral corruption and perversion have a wider implication for us. Youths are leaders of tomorrow, and youths with moral deficit cannot offer us good leadership in the future. They can trade off the country’s wealth to satisfy their fleshly or physical desires and to achieve their personal goals when they assume leadership positions. Our youths’ interaction with despicable and immoral people instills bad tendencies in their minds, and erodes their good values.
Again, one’s communication with strangers on Facebook or 2go without circumspection and discretion endangers one’s life. Some months ago, Cynthia Osokogu, a beauty queen and post-graduate student of Nassarawa State University, was brutally murdered by her Facebook friends. She was too trusting and adventurous which caused her to swallow the bait of her murderous Facebook friends. The barbarians in human skin lured her to Lagos and raped her before killing her.
We were outraged by that devilish and reprehensible act. Our sympathy and pity lie with the bereaved Osukogu family. But, we should draw a moral lesson from Cynthia’s gruesome murder: all that glitters is not gold. And youths should be discreet and circumspect in their interactions with people whom they’ve not met in flesh and blood while they’re on-line on Facebook, Twitter, 2go or other social networking sites.
And, in this age of information technology, people with get-rich-quick-mentality are putting Facebook, 2go and other sites to a very bad use. These confidence tricksters send e-mails and Facebook messages to people promising to enrich them if they part with some money. Some youths who are too trusting, gullible, naive and desperate to earn easy money had fallen prey to the internet fraudsters who swindled them of their money.
Although people without scruples use the platform of Facebook to perpetrate crimes, it is injudicious for us to throw way the baby with the bath water. We have good people in our today’s evil world with whom we can establish long-lasting beneficial friendships. Our entering into their world will broaden our mental horizon, increase our knowledge and enable us to know about cultures other than our own cultures.
Becoming luddites in an age of super information technology for fear of being exploited on Facebook is an unwise decision and a jejune idea. Parents should however monitor what their kids do online. And, we should relate with our Facebook friends with utmost circumspection and discretion.
•Okoye writes from Uruowulu-Obosi, Anambra State.
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