SINGAPORE: Some netizens are calling for a Facebook page to be taken down, expressing concern over personal information available to users. This comes after reports that young Singaporeans are posting racy pictures of themselves to make friends or get people to rate their looks.
The Facebook group is called "Add anyone you know 2 this group! Beat the most member group on FB! Come on!!!!"
Online rivalries have been brewing over this Facebook page, with some users calling for it to be taken down.
Other pages such as EDMW Singapore and SG Share have been reproducing pictures from the Facebook group to warn posters.
One user called "Singaporean1st" has also been posting messages actively, warning children about the risks they are putting themselves to.
The group is believed to have been started by a user named Owen Lee some five months ago.
The Facebook page has more than 500,000 members and the number has been increasing. This has raised concerns among youth counsellors and parents who worry if the students’ private details may fall into the wrong hands.
Adrian Lim Peng Ann, a counselling psychologist, said: "In this situation, the young teens see it as a fun thing to do and they jump in because they don’t want to be left out. They want to know what’s happening so they try it out even if it’s risky or adventurous.
"Because of their short—term thinking and not thinking (about the consequences), they would not realise that some of the information they divulge like their photos, personal information, handphone numbers, email and FB page will get into (the hands) of other undesirable people — from sexual predators to even future friends, employers, schools that may access this information and come up with a decision on whether this person is credible or worthy."
Meanwhile, students had mixed reactions on the issue.
Sebastian Ng, a Secondary Three student, said: "It’s fine and it’s nothing wrong. You just take a photo of yourself and there’s nothing to be shy about — it’s the internet, so you can post whatever you want to post about."
Another Secondary Three student, Rathi Thiruvalluvan, said: "They want people to rate them for who they are, and why would you want somebody to tell you that you are hot and beautiful? You are beautiful in your own way and every girl is beautiful."
While parents may frown upon the page, they admit it is an uphill task to police a child’s social media activity.
Juliet Tan, a mother of one, said: "Teenagers right now have everything hitting at them — the internet, the web and pornographic websites. I think that would be something we can’t curtail. This is their form of self—expression but there’s a line to be drawn and it needs an adult to show them the way gently and guide them — that there are certain rules and constraints.
"It will be very difficult to exercise control because currently in a lot of homes, both parents work. But I feel the environment and the upbringing of the child is very important. The school environment is equally important. So perhaps parents, the schools and the younger generation should work together collectively."
Mr Lim admitted that these issues arise because some parents are unaware of the dangers. He said: "As there is that guilt factor — because they don’t spend sufficient time with the kids — they will substitute with things that the kids want and it would be technology or electronic gadgets at this point in time. This is because it substitutes for the absence of a relationship if both parents are working."
Homan Kwong, a father of two, said: "Facebook is a good channel to get to know people, but at the same time it can be misused. I think it’s also about how the parents relate to the children as well."
Parents can activate Facebook’s Report Abuse feature to bar young children from certain groups.
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